Isn’t it peculiar how times changed? Disregarding the obvious changes time has implemented into today’s society, time has also morphed views on adoption. Prior to current day, it was thought ignorance is bliss for children who are adopted. It was never thought to be wise to inform a child he/she is adopted. In numerous situations the adopted child’s request to contact his/her birth family was denied.
Present day paints a different story. Present day paints the beautiful picture of a loving mother making what could possibly be the most complicated decision she will ever have to make, which is whether or not to put her child up for adoption. Unlike yesterday’s world, today’s society generally encourages the development of a relationship between the adopted and the biological family of the adopted. In fact, many biological parents have reported being encouraged to contact and maintain the contact with their adopted offspring. In many cases, the biological parents send their biological child birthday cards, letters, and photo’s via an adoption agency or social worker. This activity is encouraged, as it is believed to provide the child with a sense of his/her roots.
When to inform your child he/she was adopted is quite a hot debate. Some opposing sides even argue it is best never to tell the adopted child the details of the adoption. However, more times than not the child will question their roots and ask questions similar to “where did I come from?” Use this as your opportunity to inform your child he/she is adopted but is loved by both his/her biological parents and adopted parents. Stress why you chose him/her. However, do not make mention of being desperate for a child or anything along similar lines.
Moreover, do not expect a young child to understand what you are telling him/her immediately. It takes time; possibly even a few years for him/her to completely grasp, understand, and hopefully appreciate everything you have told him/her. In addition to honestly answering any questions he/she will most likely pose, do not labor the point.
Depending on the child’s age, he/she may already know whether or not you are his/her birth mother/father. If the child you’ve adopted exceeds the age of five, he/she will already have a basic understanding based on their memories of early life that recall a time when you were not present in his/her life. Essentially, he/she will already know you are not his/her birth mother/father. Because the child has already lost one home, he/she will most likely show fear that you may “get rid” of him/her as well. Without overdoing it, use each opportunity present to reassure your child of your unending love. Always reiterate the fact that you want your child in your life forever and will not “get rid” of him/her. If your child is over the age of five and has memories of his/her birth family, do not make mention of any negative aspects of his/her birth parents you may know about. More often than not, your adopted child most likely still loves his/her birth parents and would hate to see you try to destroy that love.