It is so important for parents to talk to children about adoption. At any age. At every age, in fact. You cannot always wait for them to ask questions. Parents set the stage for adoption being a safe topic. There are many ways to have adoption conversations appropriately and effectively. And, parents, you are not alone in having hesitancy around navigating these tough conversations! Our guess is that the ASA community is full of people who are unsure of how to go about this “correctly”. Luckily, Adoption Support Alliance is here to help!
I know, for many parents, conversations about adoption can be very intimidating. You may wonder:
What if I say the wrong thing?
What if I put things into their heads and cause them to worry or feel different unnecessarily?
What if I cannot control my emotions during the conversation?
What if they feel different or unloved or anything less than what they really are in our family?
What if I cannot find an age-appropriate way to talk about all the complexities of my child’s story?
If my child isn’t asking questions then why make it an issue?
There are so many complicated factors and so many emotions wrapped up in this topic- for you as parents and also for your child. I understand why it may seem so much easier to put the conversation off until later (especially if racial differences in the family don't make adoption obvious to others and therefore, less pressing).
However, when you fail to talk to your children about adoption, you inadvertently send them the message that adoption is something that is therefore shameful, embarrassing or a secret. And, it is not. Adoption is a wonderful and celebrated way of joining a family. Of course, that does not mean it is without difficulties. Adoption begins, always, with loss. While your child might not have words to express his or her emotions effectively on this topic, they understand the feeling of it. And, it is so much better for you, their parents, to be the one to explain things to them and to give them words to express their own feelings or questions. From a young age, you can establish yourself as someone who is safe to talk to about all things adoption. Then, when these conversations become more complex, your child is more likely to come to you for help as they navigate their identity as an adoptee.
This month, Adoption Support Alliance has two ways through which you can better equip yourself for talking about the complex topic of adoption with your children.
Option #1: Join us for a three-part group, Talking to Your Children About Adoption. The group, which is $150 per family, will meet on three consecutive Monday evenings from 7 to 8:30 pm. This group is designed to be both educational and supportive. You'll leave with greater confidence in having conversations with your child about adoption, tools to use in the conversations and a feeling that you are not alone!
Option #2: Follow us on social media and engage with us in our September Book Drive. We will share some of our favorite adoption books and will ask your family to do the same. Children’s books, books for teens, books for adults- if the book is about adoption and you have loved them, we want to hear about them! In fact, if you are willing and able, we’d love for you to send us a copy to build our lending library and therapy resources! Adoption Support Alliance has posted our Wish List of books we have had an eye on and we welcome gifts! A donor has also committed to matching your gift. For every book you send, another will be purchased. Used books, as long as they are still legible, are welcome too! At the end of the month, we will gather together to read stories as a community and will invite you to our office to check out our lending library of books.
We know that the conversations about adoption will not stop when September ends. But we hope that together we can end the month more equipped to talk about this issue that is important in this community's families. , but we do hope that you will seize the opportunity to begin to make adoption topics more common and accepted among all members of your households. The world of adoption starts with just one soul and many of you are lucky enough to have one in your homes. Cherish them so that they can continue to grow in confidence of who they are as an adoptee.