Let this year be the year. Let this year be the year you normalize your child’s adoption, if you haven’t already. What does this mean? Make your child’s adoption story just a normal part of life. Talking to your child about their adoption should be a building block of conversation you have over and over again. There should never be a sit down to tell them they are adopted kind of scenario. They should know their adoption story from the time you have them, of course at appropriate age levels. This empowers your child to own their story, and to not be ashamed about it.
History and statistics show that kids knowing early on about their adoption is best. Of course, every adoptee and person is different. While this may not be the case in every situation, it is the general consensus.
It is important your child knows the truth about their beginnings versus them making up fantasies. A lot of times when adoptees do not know much about their adoption, they make up stories/fantasies to help them relate to their adoption. This can cause a lifetime of wondering. If you have any info about your child’s adoption, give it to them, again on age-appropriate levels. This helps promote healing for our kids and helps them to process their story early on in their life.
Your Child’s Adoption Story Is A Family Journey
You are their safe space, Mama. So, talk about your child’s adoption freely, honestly, and openly. This is how you make it normal for your child and your family. This also builds trust between you and your adopted child. Let your kids come to you if they are sad, mad, or confused about their adoption. They will of course have positive feelings about their adoption as well!
Hold space for your kids to feel all of their feelings and emotions when it comes to their adoption. If this is hard for you to do, consider doing some self-reflection. Ask yourself, why is this hard for me? Is there anything I need to work through with a counselor to be the best parent I can be? Am I secure enough in my role as parent to also take my kids’ hard feelings? Building this foundation early on with your child will only help the older years as they continue to process their adoption.
Help Your Child Feel Positive About Their Adoption
If you’ve been around here for a little bit, you know we love us some practical applications!
Practical ways to normalize your child’s adoption:
- Talk about it often. It’s only weird if you make it weird. Talk about how special their birthday is. Talk about how special their first family is. Empower them with their story.
- Buy and read children’s books geared towards adoptees about adoption. The adoption-related children’s book list is growing. You can find many on Amazon. Here are a few of our family’s favorites: A Mother for Choco, The Story of My Open Adoption, Discovering Me: A Journey Book about Adoption, and Growing Grace.
- Make friends with other families who have adopted kids. Find families in your church, community, school, etc. who have also adopted. This helps your child not feel so different when they can relate to other kids who have similar stories.
- Celebrate your child’s birth family. This is so easy. You can do this whether you have a closed, semi-open, or open adoption. Talk highly of your child’s first family. Celebrate your child’s biological family. Do activities from your child’s birth culture. There are so many ways to do this!
A secure adoptee begins with confident adoptive parents. Letting your child’s adoption story be a positive part of your family dynamics will build over time to become the beautiful story it is supposed to be.