The paperwork has been signed, it's official. You've adopted! Congratulations! Now for the next step - telling your son or daughter how they came to be a part of your family. Census data shows that between 500 and 700 children are adopted in Florida each year. The ages of the children vary and while an infant or toddler may not have questions now, chances are they will as they get older. And for older children, the questions are often immediate, because they are old enough to know and understand that their “forever family” wasn’t formed in the same way as most. So what do you do? Experts say the best way to deal with adoption in your family is to be open, honest, and to tell children immediately.
According to the Adoption and Family Support Center, while a younger child may not be able to fully comprehend what the concept means it will plant the seed and give a foundation to build on as your child grows. Additionally the Center discusses the damage that comes from keeping the adoption a secret. Experts say making adoption a celebration is important. Hiding the adoption can make it seem like a secret that is something to be ashamed of.
According to ThrivingFamily.com older children need to know and feel that they can ask any question they need to regarding their adoption (www.thrivingfamily.com). Parents are encouraged to answer any questions their child may have. The websites says it is best to be as open as possible and reassure them that no question is too crazy or inappropriate.
Life Books are also a great way to explain adoption to children. Lifebooks explain to children the timeline that led to their adoption. The book allows them to go back and look through the story of their life. It also fills in any blanks about their past that would be helpful in understanding why they were adopted. The U.S. Administrative for Children and Families has tips and resources for making a Lifebook for your child. Visit their website: https://www.childwelfare.gov/adoption/postplacement/lifebooks.cfm, to learn more.
Adoption is an awesome experience, but no matter how wonderful, it requires explanation, reassurance, and support for the adopted child