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The Truth About Adoption
“Honey, we need to have a talk about something. You know how you always ask us where you got your red hair and we told you it was from your Irish great-grandmother? Well, your great-grandmother is really Italian...and we’re not actually your real parents.”
This is not a conversation you want to have with a teenager.
Child psychiatrist Elizabeth Wheeler, in an article for Parenthood.com, says that the time to tell children they’re adopted is “immediately.” She advises parents to be authentic with their children, and to tell them from the start about their special situation in ways they can understand at the time, then gradually add to the story as they grow up and can comprehend more.
Wheeler suggests ways in which you can describe adoption to young children, and emphasizes how important it is for parents to treat adoption as natural – to not make it a big deal. Children will pick up on your emotions, so if you act like the situation is something upsetting or shameful, that is the way they’ll feel about it.
Often children’s books are a great way to help your child understand something slightly beyond their grasp. Here is a list of some helpful children’s books on the topic of adoption.
If you have adopted, how did you go about telling your children the story of where they came from?