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I am an adoptive parent of 2 foreign children. My son is 11 my daughter is 7. We are very open with them about adoption and have had several frank discussions about adoption, yet I still don't get the sense that they grasp the full meaning of it all. Any suggestions on how to get them up to speed?
I'm no expert in adoption, but having worked with parents for more than 1'0 years, I've found a few good resources. Check out "Let's Talk Adoption" http://www.letstalkadoption.com/ where there are articles, show archives, and a free newsletter to assist you in your awesome task. Best wishes, Brenda Nixon, M.A.
Posted On 2007-08-20 09:10:52
I'm not sure I understand what you want them to "get." Seven and 11 year-old children don't grasp the full meaning of a lot of life's complicated feelings and situations. Children see their experience, whatever it is, as normal. Your children are not yet at the stage of questioning why things are the way they are. It seems like your children feel secure, accepted, and loved. You've done a great job of parenting.
Probably in about two years your son will have all sorts of questions as he begins his adolescent quest of finding out who he is. That will be the time when he will likely question why you are his parents. Because you have been open about the adoption, it will be easier to talk about his past and why he is your son.
For now, just answer your children's questions as they arise. Answer as completely as you can, but at your child's level of understanding. Many parents incorporate traditions, foods, and celebrations from their adopted child's country and culture. This is a way to help all of the family better understand the child's biological roots.
Posted On 2007-02-09 15:41:39
I'm wondering what you mean when you say they don't grasp the full meaning of it. At the age of 11 and 7 I think that they know that they were not born to you, but that you are their parent. Is it that they are not asking questions of you about their biological parents and relatives. It could be that for right now they have all the information that they can assimilate. I think it is wonderful that you have had frank discussions about the adoption. I'm guessing you have told them their stories of how you came to get them and the welcoming they were given. I'm guessing that you let them know how blessed you feel to have created the uniqueness of your family.
My thinking is that as long as you keep the communication open, your children will feel comfortable asking you questions when they are ready. Often when adoptive children become teenagers and are dealing with their individuation questions about their family of origin emerge. Creating a safe place for them to talk and ask questions will be very helpful.
Posted On 2007-02-09 15:17:14