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When and how to tell your child...

Posted by on Feb. 4, 2013 at 10:12 PM
  • 17 Replies
I know this may not be the right group but my husband adopted my son from a previous relationship. My husband has raised my son since he was two weeks old. He is now 5. I'm wondering and what age and how to go about telling him? I fear resentment down the road. Also he has never seen or had anything to do with bio dad. They have never met and he has never been around his family so no ties there.

*Brooke*




Mommy to two wonderful boys Keaton 11.15.2007 & Taeton 08.26.2009, and Wife to Garrett.

by on Feb. 4, 2013 at 10:12 PM
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maggiemom2000
by Bronze Member on Feb. 4, 2013 at 11:26 PM
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Ideally the child will grow up knowing their history, their "life story" and have no memory of being "told". So, if your 5 yr old does not know that this man is not his bio dad and that he is adopted, you're running a little late. It's time to start talkin'!

You don't need to say much. Did you have the adoption formalized in front if the judge and you took a picture with the judge? Just going through the family photo album and talking about it. "here's where we took you to visit Aunt Susie. This is a picture of us with the judge when daddy adopted you."

He basically just needs to know that daddy adopted him and a different man out there in the world is he biological father. When he gets older he will start to ask questions about why and who, and it will be your job to answer him honestly, in a way that is appropriate for his age at the time.

The fact that daddy adopted him is something to be proud of! Don't let be a secret.

SarahSuzyQ
by Sarah on Feb. 5, 2013 at 7:53 AM
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I completely agree with PP - I would start today! And not with a big announcement, but with some casual conversation. If you don't have a photo of the adoption, do you have one of you and bio dad when you were pregnant?

He needs to know that he can trust you to be honest with him. He also needs to know that adoption isn't shameful. Having these conversations now will help make sure that he doesn't learn about his adoption in some other way, or that he doesn't feel betrayed or lied to when he is older.

He may have some tough questions or some hard feelings about this over the years. He will probably ask you why his bio dad wasn't able to stick around, and he may feel a real sense of loss as he begins to understand his story. Just hearing him out, telling the truth in age-appropriate ways, and letting him know that his feelings are okay no matter what is going to be important. Again, he needs to know that he can trust you and count on you as he works through this... And it may take years, he may come back to it over time, or it may not bother him at all.

Good luck!
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raleyfamily
by Carla on Feb. 5, 2013 at 7:59 AM

I agree you should tell him NOW.  The younger he is, and the longer he has to grow up with the story, the more nonchalant he can be about it.  If you wait until the teen years or beyond, he will feel angry, lied too, and will likely rebell.

Carla Raley, wife of Bill, mom of 12, foster mom of more than 50
Visit my blogs for stories of the life of an older mom raising a large family, foster/adoption and homeschooling
http://raleyfamilysfarm.blogspot.com/

http://bookreviewsbycarla.blogspot.com/



aprilz1225
by Silver Member on Feb. 5, 2013 at 9:04 AM

 While i do agree with the ladies, we have never not told our son, we have had since birth. we always used language that he could relate to. Now since he was in grade K we started the process of adoption two, it has been a wonderful teaching tool of his journey to our family. (he's now 7).

KeatonsMama404
by on Feb. 5, 2013 at 10:03 PM
Thank you ladies. I guess I fear it most because he is at the age of announcing everything to everyone so I don't want it to be something he announces to everyone everywhere ya know? And I don't think I'm ready to pull pictures out of my ex for him to see, maybe when he's older ad understands and has a curiosity about it I can bring them out ?? Everyone told me I should be talking to a counselor about the right way to bring it up but I figured you ladies would know best.
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KeatonsMama404
by on Feb. 5, 2013 at 10:06 PM
We do have a pic from the courtroom, I believe my mil took it so ill have to try to track it down. I've shown him pics of me being pregnant but my ex wasn't around so there isn't any with him in it.
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SarahSuzyQ
by Sarah on Feb. 5, 2013 at 10:15 PM

I understand that. It's a tough age to balance the idea of adoption not being shameful with still wanting him to protect his own privacy somewhat.

Honestly, for my son (just turned 5), it's kind of a fact of life that he doesn't discuss much. We haven't made a big deal out of it, so he doesn't see the need to do so either. Sometimes he will talk about his birth parents, but more often he will talk about the adoption party we had for him last summer. As far as talking with his friends or other adults about adoption? I just haven't seen it come up for him.

I don't know that you have to pull the pictures of bdad out right away... Let him ask questions as he has them. Just starting to prepare yourself now so that you are ready when he asks would be good, and finding the photos in case he does want to see them. He may have a lot of questions, or he may not have any. He may come back to you with more questions later. But I think it's really good that you are telling him, and that you aren't intending to make it a big deal (therapist, etc) so that it doesn't have to be traumatic for him to learn about his story.

Quoting KeatonsMama404:

Thank you ladies. I guess I fear it most because he is at the age of announcing everything to everyone so I don't want it to be something he announces to everyone everywhere ya know? And I don't think I'm ready to pull pictures out of my ex for him to see, maybe when he's older ad understands and has a curiosity about it I can bring them out ?? Everyone told me I should be talking to a counselor about the right way to bring it up but I figured you ladies would know best.



KeatonsMama404
by on Feb. 5, 2013 at 10:40 PM
So I found the picture in the courtroom. We only have one. How would I go about randomly bringing this up? And what words do I use to explain it in little detail but enough to where he understands ?!
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mcginnisc
by Claire on Feb. 6, 2013 at 6:29 AM
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Quoting KeatonsMama404:

Thank you ladies. I guess I fear it most because he is at the age of announcing everything to everyone so I don't want it to be something he announces to everyone everywhere ya know? And I don't think I'm ready to pull pictures out of my ex for him to see, maybe when he's older ad understands and has a curiosity about it I can bring them out ?? Everyone told me I should be talking to a counselor about the right way to bring it up but I figured you ladies would know best.


Why do you fear this? If he brings it up to someone, it means he is proud of it.. It does not have to have a negative connotation to it. 

My dd was adopted from China at 17 months old. She has known from the beginning ( hard not to know since she is a different race), but when she was younger she would announce it.. It did not bother me at all. It meant she was comfortable in her own skin and her adoption story. This is a very positive thing. Adoption is not something to sweep under the rug and be ashamed of..it is another way to build a family. Your husband took it upon himself to raise a child that is not biologically his and to love that child. Your son should be proud to be called his son! :-) 

You don't have to pull out pictures of your ex. You can have an age appropriate discussion with your son and if HE asks to see his biological father, then you can decide if it is the right time to show him the pictures. Let him guide the conversation once you tell him what adoption means to your family. 

Claire


" I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." Phillipians 4:13 

KeatonsMama404
by on Feb. 6, 2013 at 9:42 AM
I guess I fear my husband being hurt. Maybe I'm over exaggerating emotions. I can only imagine what it would be like in his shoes. I spoke with dh last night and he still thinks Keaton is too young to gradually bring it up. He is worried our three year old outspoken child will constantly bring it up to Keaton because they are at that age where they are constantly back and forth attacking each other. Either way I need to get dh on the same page with me before this gets harder on me. I talked to my mil who had this same conversation with her oldest son and she said she did it at five and he had no clue what was going on and then had to do it again at 7 or 8 when he was old enough to understand more.
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