Scary subject for many adoptive parents…
But think of it this way—by opening up and talking to your child about his/her birth parents (even if there is no information available) you are in fact reinforcing the bond you have with your child, strengthening your relationship. You are also establishing a pattern of open communication for future talks.
I’ve found that talking about adoption with your child is somewhat similar to talking about sex. Information about the “birds and the bees” comes out a little at a time—in age-appropriate levels—beginning with the general and evolving into specifics. You’re honest, but you don’t share all of it at once; your child can only handle so much.
The same can be said of the topic of adoption. The adoptive parent needs to lay the ground work early. Normalize adoption by beginning adoption talks when your child is young. Think it through; take into account your child’s story and then decide what you want to say. Bear in mind that not all kids ask. One of mine never has. It has been up to me to initiate and guide every discussion. Be prepared with the answers and lead if the child doesn’t ask.
Allow your child to “leave” the conversation when they signal they’ve had enough. They might become more interested in the fly on the wall, non-verbally tune-out, or say something along the lines of, “Mom/Dad, I don’t want to talk about adoption.”
Parents: Discussing your child’s birth parents has benefits. You establish an open line of communication and strengthen your bond with your child. What questions can you anticipate?