My son is adopted. I'm not sure when, or how, to tell him. I don't know if I even should! Is there a certain age when I should tell him? And is there a way to break the news so that it won't be traumatic for him?
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends telling children that they're adopted as soon as they're able to understand — usually between ages 2 and 4. The concept of adoption still may be beyond them, but it's important to introduce the word to their vocabulary.
Let your son know that he can ask you any questions he has. Bringing the topic up early on will allow both you and your child to become more comfortable discussing what it means to be adopted.
To help tell the story of how your family came to be, consider keeping a scrapbook of pictures and items from when your son was born and when you adopted him. Such details and mementos can help convey your joy at having him in your life. You also might get your son one of the many books written for young kids about being adopted.
Most important, try to make adoption something that is openly discussed, rather than a secret with a negative connotation.
Your pediatrician can be a good source of other tips about discussing adoption.
Reviewed by: D'Arcy Lyness, PhD
Date reviewed: October 2012
|American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) The AAP is committed to the health and well-being of infants, adolescents, and young adults. The website offers news articles and tips on health for families.|
|Adoption.com This site examines all aspects of adoption and the adoptive process.|
|Adopt: Assistance, Information, Support This is an online community for families who want to adopt or have already adopted, adoptees, and birth families.|
|Child Welfare Information Gateway This site offers information on many aspects of adoption.|
|Being Adopted There's more than one way to create a family. Adoption is one of them. Find out more in this article for kids.|
|Adoption It's natural for any adopted person, child or adult, to have complex feelings about being adopted. Find out more about the emotions and other issues adopted teens face.|
|Medical Issues in Adoption If you're considering adoption, here are some things to know about the health and medical care of an adopted child, before, during, and after the adoption.|
|Foster Families Some kids live with foster families, who provide a safe place for kids to be cared for. Let's find out more.|
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