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How old was your child when they understood that they were adopted?

Our son is 3 y/o and while we talk about his being adopted and look thru his life book, he still doesn't understand it (can't tell the story back yet, but is a little delayed verbally, so not worried) and I know it may be a while longer. Around age 4 or 5? Just wondering.


Asked by doodlebopfan at 6:29 PM on Jun. 24, 2010 in Adoption

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Answers (22)
  • It's different for all children, but I do believe if he knows his birth parents, it will be easier to explain.


    Answer by banana-bear at 4:30 PM on Jun. 25, 2010

  • Adopteeme- That is horribly evil for her to do to you. Honestly, it really ticks me off and makes me hurt for you...Adoptive parents like that give the rest of us a bad name...sigh..

    To answer the OP's query- Our dd is 4 1/2 and came home from China at 17 months. We started telling her about her adoption from day one- we knew she couldn't understand us at first, but we continued the process. She grasps it very well, but I think it helped that 8 months after she came home we found out that I was pregnant and she went through seeing me pregnant with her baby sister. She loves to hear her story and see all the pictures we have of China. She asks questions and we answer as well as we can due to having no information past her birthdate and Chinese name.

    Answer by mcginnisc at 7:54 AM on Jun. 25, 2010

  • I haven't been adopted, nor have I adopted, but I just have to say that I am so glad you are open with him about it! I have a friend who adopted her niece as an infant. That girl is now 8, and she has no idea she's adopted. Her adoptive mom would just rather leave that part of her daughter's history out of any conversation, but I think it's important for her to know. I definitely don't think that's the right way to do it.

    Answer by corbysmom531 at 8:04 PM on Jun. 24, 2010

  • My girls were older when their adoption happened so they are aware but my 2 1/2 year old son who was placed with us at seven months does not seem to have an understanding yet. We have read many children's stories relating to adoption and even had a story made just for him that was all about how he joined our family. We have done this from the begining so I am hoping that he also knows and is aware of his history and the special way he joined our family:)


    Answer by Luuckymommy at 8:54 PM on Jun. 24, 2010

  • My DS is almost 2, and I don't know how much he understands when we talk to him. Our DD is almost 6, and she understands. I think she really understood by about age 4.

    Answer by Iamgr8teful at 10:45 PM on Jun. 24, 2010

  • My son is three and he does not understand. We can tell him his story but I don't expect total comprehension until about eight or so. They have to understand reproduction first. So they might know some but the actual "get it" comes later. Then in tween / teen years comes recognizing the perspective of different emotions and trauma a family of orgin may have experienced. With each knew phase of development comes new moments of understanding according to what may be going on in their world.

    Answer by frogdawg at 7:37 PM on Jun. 25, 2010

  • yea. around 4 or 5. my DS is 5 years old and understands that i am adopting him. He doesn't have the entire concept of what that means, but he does know that that means he can go anywhere with him and everyone will know that i am his mommy.

    Answer by outstandingLove at 6:31 PM on Jun. 24, 2010

  • oh. but he also knows his birth parents i think that makes it easier for him to understand.

    Answer by outstandingLove at 6:32 PM on Jun. 24, 2010

  • NOt sure...I don't remember a time where I didn't knowthat I was adopted, so I can't say for sure when they told me, but it was definitely very early on. I always understood, on an academic level if not an emotional one.

    Answer by LiliMama18 at 6:41 PM on Jun. 24, 2010

  • 4

    Answer by matthewscandi at 7:00 PM on Jun. 24, 2010