Any parent can attest to the seemingly endless barrage of questions from our kids: “Why do I have to take a bath?” “When can we go back outside?” and a staple of long road trips, “Are we there yet?” Children are curious creatures. They ask questions in efforts to figure out the world they live in. Some questions, of course, are easier to answer than others.
Common family-related questions such as “Where do babies come from?” and “What is our nationality?” get deeper conversations going, but if you are an adoptive parent, your answers will be a bit more complex and thought-out than the typical response. Children’s understanding of adoption is part of a developmental process, and asking questions is their attempt to try and understand its role in their lives.
At Adoptions With Love, we want parents like you to feel prepared for their children’s more difficult adoption questions. We want you to have the confidence, compassion, and ability to comfortably discuss adoption – openly and honestly – with your child.
Depending on your child’s age, certain adoption-related questions will require simpler answers, such as: “Was I in your tummy?” This is one of the more common questions asked by young children. The answer can be handled with a simple reply, such as “You were in your birth mother’s belly before you were born. Mommy and Daddy wanted a baby but could not have one that way. We were so excited to adopt you!” It is important to take age and development into consideration before addressing your child’s adoption questions. It is also important to always be open, honest, and positive when talking to your child about adoption.
To help you navigate conversations with your child, Adoptions With Love has compiled a list of other common adoption questions that children may ask, ranging from the basic ponderings of a preschooler to the adolescent interrogations.
Adoption Question: What do my birth parents look like?
Answer: If you know what the birth parents look like, describe them as detailed as possible. Example: “Your birth mother has brown, curly hair and big, beautiful green eyes.” If you have a pictures of your child’s birth parents, this would be an appropriate time to share it with him/her.
If you do not know the birth parents, you may reply:
“They must be stunning to have made such a beautiful child like you!”Adoption Question: Why didn’t my birth parents keep me?
Answer: “Sometimes, a man and woman know they can’t take care of a baby that they are expecting. Your birth parents knew just how amazing you were going to be, but they also knew they could not give you the kind of care and support you deserve. So, they searched for the best parents, who could give you the best life possible. We wanted to be your parents more than anything in this world and feel so fortunate to have you in our lives.”
Adoption Question: How come I don’t look like anyone else in the family?
Answer: “Our physical appearance comes from our birth parents. You were blessed to be born with the same beautiful skin tone, hair and eye color as your birth parents. Nana and Papa are my birth parents, so that is why I have the same skin color/hair/eyes as they do. Just because you have different skin/hair/eyes, does not make you less of a part of our family. It is basically the only difference between us! You are our child and we love you with all of our hearts. We celebrate our differences.”
Adoption Question: Why did you adopt me?
Answer: “Mommy and Daddy really wanted a baby to care for and to love, but we could not make a baby. When your birth parents reached out to an adoption agency, we were paired together! It was a perfect match, because we loved you the moment we laid eyes on you. We feel so lucky to be able to have you in our family.”
Adoption Question: Will I go back to my birth parents someday?
Answer: “Your birth parents wanted you to have a family that could take care of you and love you forever. Family is forever, and you are a very important part of our family. You will always be our son/daughter, and we will love you and care for you no matter how old you grow – or (jokingly) how cranky you behave! We are also very proud to talk about your birthparents. This never hurts our feelings. They are part of you.”
Adoption Question: Is it okay to think about my birth parents?
Answer: “Of course it is! It is only natural to think about your birth parents. I, myself, think of your birth parents often, especially on special days like your birthday, Mother’s Day or other holidays. I hope they are doing well. I always feel thankful to them for giving me the gift of you. I am certain your birth parents think of you often.”
Like many adoptive families today, you may have opted for an open adoption. Depending on your relationship with the birth parent(s), you may arrange for the birth mother speak with your child at certain points of his/her childhood, particularly when questions are raised about your child’s birth family history, the birth parents’ feelings on the adoption, or any other personal questions related to your little one’s biological background. This approach is completely up to you and what you, your child, and his or her birth mom are comfortable with in terms of contact.
Handling it With a Little Help
No matter the focus, Adoptions With Love can help you navigate your child’s most sensitive adoption questions with compassion and sensibility. Our caring staff is available to our adoptive parents 24/7, and just one call away. Feel free to reach out to us anytime at 617-964-4357. You may also download our free guides below: “A Guide to Talking About Adoption” and “Talking to Your Child About Adoption: A Guide for Adoptive Parents.”