It's vital to help your biological and adopted children understand who they are, and their importance in your particular family.
Author and psychotherapist Stacie Cahill is an adoptive mother who works with parents as they tackle adoption identity issues. She and her husband were blessed to adopt a baby girl, whom they named Chelsea. The adoption happened when their biological son, Jacob, was two.
Three years later, Jacob took it upon himself to describe adoption to Chelsea. He told her the stork brought her to their house. She was upset. Not a great way to describe adoption to a tender three-year-old!
At that point, Stacie knew that she had to give a better explanation. She wrote a book and dedicated it to Chelsea, explaining how she grew in her heart instead of her body. Stacie knew that adoption was part of her child's identity from the beginning. This is why you should start talking to your baby about adoption as soon as possible.
If you have both biological and adopted children in your family, make sure you find ways for everyone to feel special and included. The more you talk about it, the less likely your children will have identity questions as they get older. Starting the adoption dialogue early can be very beneficial for the adopted child, and creates the foundation for conversations to come. Keep reading to discover tips on talking to children about adoption!
How Can We Talk to Our Kids About Adoption?
Maintain an open dialogue about adoption and answer your kid's questions in age-appropriate ways. A lot of adoptive parents brush over their children's questions. You really can't do that because then children start to feel shameful, like there's something wrong with adoption.
Stacie admits that in the beginning, she didn't want to spend a lot of time talking about adoption with Chelsea. She didn't want her to feel different. Over time she realized that by talking about it, they could celebrate adoption and make it feel normal.
Adopted children need to know that their adoption was a positive event, and adoption is a part of who they are. Families need to be educated, as well. Extended family and grandparents should have that education prior to the child coming into your home. Explain to them the importance of talking about and celebrating the way your adopted child joined the family.
Will You Love Them Differently?
Many hopeful adoptive parents wonder if they will feel a difference in their bond with their adopted children. Every case is different, but usually, parents have to think twice about who's adopted and who's biological. Their kids are their kids, and they love them all equally.
It's also important to make sure your biological children feel special and loved, especially when a new child or baby is joining the family through adoption. Jacob told Stacie that he wished he was adopted. So Stacie wrote a book for her biological son Jacob as well, My Parents Love Me Too.
The book is told from the perspective of a little boy whose parents are preparing for his sister's arrival. He is worried that being a biological child isn't as important as being adopted. Throughout the story, his parents reassure him and show him how special he is. In the end, he understands that being biological is wonderful too.
If you have both biological and adopted children in your family, make sure you find ways for everyone to feel special and included. The more you talk about it, the less likely that you will have identity questions as your kids get older.
Many adoptive parents wonder how they can help their child understand his or her adoption story. To address their questions, Lifetime Adoption held a webinar, "Talking About Adoption With Your Child." Two of Lifetime's adoptive moms joined us to share their experiences of raising children through adoption.
In this webinar, you'll get tips to help make the topic of adoption one that's open for discussion as your child grows up. Learn how other parents talked about adoption with their child throughout the various stages of childhood.