The Law Firm of Debra J. Braselton, P.C.
Illinois Matrimonial and Family Law 630-DIVORCE

When and how do I tell my child he is adopted?

Adoption can cause one to have many questions. But it is not only the parents that have questions. An adopted child may have questions about his or her adoption. The American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry or AACAP offers some guidelines as to when a child should learn of his or her adoption. While parents do not want their children to struggle with insecurities or questions once they become aware they are adopted, it is still recommended that adoptive parents be up-front and honest with the child. Doing so can build trust and offer a safe, open environment in which the child can express feelings and ask questions.

In general, the longer the wait, the harder it becomes to inform a child about adoption. Children begin asking questions such as "where do babies come from" during their preschool years. This is a great time to begin slowly introducing their unique circumstances and explaining that some children live with different parents. When possible, it is recommended that adopted children be informed prior to school age years. This prevents any concerns of finding out from someone else, or running into a situation that could negatively impact the child's self-image and worth.

Always reinforce a child's understanding that an adoption was not their fault. Adopted children can possess an intuition that things are somehow different, which can in turn create natural anxiety and worry. Be sure to let them know that their biological parents simply could not take care of them at the time and cared enough about their well-being to put them up for adoption to a good family.

An adoption attorney can be a great source of advice and resources to make the conversation a smooth and positive experience. When dealing with any phase of the adoption process, it is important to be well informed of the potential issues.

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