But real life isn’t always that simple. If you need tips on speaking with your child about the day you became a forever family, here are a few ideas:
- Adoption books for kids like Jamie Lee Curtis’ Tell Me Again About the Night I Was Born. Books like this provide warm and loving ways to engage your child. Reading with kids is such an intimate and safe way to share information.
- Adoption books for parents — like Be My Baby: Parents and Children Talk About Adoption by Gail Kinn — are another great resource. This book gives adoptive parents insight into how adoptees feel, and parents can learn how to present the topic of adoption from a child’s point of view.
- Watch television programs like Dinosaur Train, where adoption is integrated into the storyline. Anyone who watches this program soon forgets that Buddy is adopted because the focus of the show is about the daily life of the Pteranodon family.
- Ask your child’s social worker for suggestions on how and when to talk about adoption.
- Use your child’s baby book with photos of her biological parents for a visual explanation of her family tree. This is a great way to tell the story of how your family was formed.
- If your child has adopted siblings, incorporate them into this important task. They can relate to their brother or sister in a way that you cannot.
Emboldened by my son’s support, I opted for this last approach. I told my daughter that she was adopted and then smiled and clapped like a maniac. She laughed at my silliness, and her enjoyment of this little game made it easier to keep saying, “I adopted you.” She was into it and began mimicking me — though whenever I said “adoption,” she said “doctor.” She began saying she was “a doctor.” Close enough. For the moment, I dropped the subject, knowing that sooner rather than later, we would revisit that discussion.
My daughter is now four years old and knows that she has a biological mother, a foster mother and me. I’m not exactly sure if she fully understands the ideas, and at this young age, she doesn’t have to. We’ll have lots of years to discuss adoption. For now, when she announces that she has three moms, I go with it.
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