Depending on the child, the understanding of what “blood relations” means happens around the ages of six to eight. My kids began to ask very specific questions about how we were all related during these ages. With these questions came a better understanding of the differences between birth and adoption. My family is of blood and adoption.
Accompanying the “relations” questions are the “why” questions. My youngest, now eight, is asking a lot of these. I am comfortable answering his questions because I believe that if he is asking them he is ready for me to respond with age-appropriate answers. Even though I have answered many times, I still am asked “Why didn’t she keep me?” to “How did you know I was yours?” and “Are you happy you’re my mother?” He is looking for explanations and reassurances as he expresses his feelings of separation and loss.
My son is particularly fond of having comparable discussions with one of his older sisters in the back seat of my van. I learn a lot about how my kids feel by listening to them. They are open and supportive of one another’s feelings. They respect the other’s perspectives, but also hunt for the common ground. They understand that being adopted is different, but good. They know many children, adults and teens who were adopted.
They recognize that adoption is forever, similar to blood, and that we’re traveling the journey of family together…
Parents: How old was your child when he or she first began asking questions about blood and adoptive relations? How did you handle the questions?