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how do i tell my 4yr old he is adopted

i don't know and need some advice

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Asked by nikslife at 12:02 PM on Apr. 29, 2009 in Adoption

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Answers (19)
  • Why do you feel like you want to tell him right now, why not wait till he's a little older so it would be better for him to understand? You might confuse him. But you should do what you feel is right, I'm not trying to tell you what to do.

    Answer by Rachel24517 at 12:08 PM on Apr. 29, 2009

  • My son will be 5 tomorrow and is adopted. I have always told him he was, but he doesn't remember. He knows his baby sister is adopted. HIs birthfather and family send gifts at xmas and birthday and i take the opportunity to tell my son his story. this past xmas he asked some questions and we looked at pictures that i am fortunate to have.
    See if there is something you can tie your conversation in with. do you know anyone who is currently adopting? or even pregnant? Keep a listen for shows he's watching. Soon after my son received the xmas gifts there was a show on tv, spinoff of the movie "Kung Fu Panda", and one of the characters was adopted from the orphanage. I used that to spark a conversation - i asked my son who else was adopted and he said his sister - for some reason he forgets he is. LOL
    I think this is a good age to start, it should be something they always know,

    Answer by chuggerboysmom at 12:14 PM on Apr. 29, 2009

  • Just tell him that you didn't carry him in your tummy, but, you picked him out special. Out of all the kids born, you picked him. Tell him your tummy couldn't hold a baby so you found another tummy to hold him. And you were a gift to him.

    Answer by BradenIsMySon at 12:14 PM on Apr. 29, 2009

  • How long has he been with you? Really, adoption should just be a normal part of conversation and life. If he has been with you for a long while, it really would have been best had it already been discussed via story books, a life book, and the word mentioned in general household conversation. However, it is not too late. Don't beat yourself up. Just begin doing your homework, finding age appropriate books that help explain, and and making him a life book that explains he was born to his birth mother, but she was unable to care for any (or another) children at that time, and explain that some children remain with the mother that gives birth to them, and some do not. is a great place to find resources for you and your child.

    Answer by Anonymous at 12:30 PM on Apr. 29, 2009

  • Put together a book about his adoption. Start telling him stories about his adoption, and refer to the book. That way, he has an anchor to go back to when he has questions.

    Answer by Busimommi at 12:31 PM on Apr. 29, 2009

  • My DD will be 5 soon and I have always talked to her about adoption. The word adoption is not foreign to her. We talk about where she was born and we talk about Jean who had her in her tummy. She knows her birthfathers name, she is not old enough to understand yet. I did this since her birth because when the day does come and she begins to understand more it will not be a big blow to her because we have always talked about it. She has books about adoptions and we read about how other children get adopted. Just be open and honest to your childs level.
    Good Luck

    Answer by Dannee at 1:25 PM on Apr. 29, 2009

  • Start with the correct terminology: He WAS adopted, not he IS adopted. (subtle but meaningful difference as his adoption does not define him as a person).

    How you approach it is going to differ greatly on his maturity level. If he is advanced (or an older 4), it may require a sit down and detailed explanation. If he is a "young" four, it may just be reading a book about adoption (like tell me again about the night I was born or any of dozens of books like that) and then just say simply, that you grew in someone else's belly and now you are his Mommy forever. Then expand the explanation in the months, years, to come.

    Is it an open adoption?

    Answer by Anonymous at 2:28 PM on Apr. 29, 2009

  • Scroll down to the article "Talking to your child about adoption".


    Answer by onethentwins at 4:41 PM on Apr. 29, 2009

  • We've been talking to our daughter about adoption since she was born, but I'm sure you could work it into the conversation naturally with a four year old. We tell her that everybody has a birthmother, and for most people the birthmother and mommy are the same person. For kids who were adopted, the birthmother and mommy are two different people. We tell her that she grew in "R"'s tummy, and that God helped her to choose a mommy and daddy for her, and she chose us. We also tell her that we love "R" very much, and that she is family. We look at pictures sometimes, and of course have phone calls and visits.

    When our son came home at 4 weeks old last fall, we explained to DD that we had been praying for another baby for a very long time, then we found out about a woman who was having a baby and could not take care of any baby at that time. She chose us to be his mommy and daddy, and her to be his sister.

    Good luck!

    Answer by Iamgr8teful at 12:37 AM on Apr. 30, 2009

  • I don't agree with the poster who said wait until he's older. Younger children are able to accept their adoption stories much easier and as they grow older, it's just part of their life. To an older child, this is life changing news. It's generally accepted that a child should know their entire adoption story (good and bad) before the age of 8 because they can most easily accept it for what it is.

    Answer by MommyAddie at 6:25 AM on Apr. 30, 2009

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