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When and how to tell your child...

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.


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
Replies (11-17):
by on Feb. 6, 2013 at 12:12 PM

My kids all have a "birth story" that they've heard since they were too young to even know what the words meant.  Even my oldest bio daughter who is 36 now still loves to hear her birth story.   Most of my adopted children came to me as very, very ill infants so I actually have a birth story for them.  One of my adopted children didn't come to me until she was two so she has a story but it differs slightly.  The thing about our adopted children is that you cannot use that word (adopted) often enough.  "oh, you're my wondrous adopted baby" is a good start.  Just have your husband mention very casually that he loves his happy adopted boy.  If the kid asks about adopted you can sit down and talk about but if it goes over his head just keep using the word in various ways.  The more he hears it the less scary it is when he's in school and they know that Dad isn't bio dad.

by on Feb. 6, 2013 at 3:52 PM
Thats a good point!! Thank you!!
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by on Feb. 6, 2013 at 7:45 PM

Now is a good time to start slowly adding more as he gets older

by on Feb. 6, 2013 at 10:06 PM
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Quoting KeatonsMama404:

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.
He should feel proud that he has chosen to be his father. The truth is he is not his biological father. That is not "good" or "bad", it just is. If he wishes that he was Keatons bio dad, that is something he can say to him. "I love you so much that I wanted to be your dad. I wish I was your bio dad, but I'm so happy and proud to be your dad."
I spoke with dh last night and he still thinks Keaton is too young to gradually bring it up.
Well, we are telling you that he's not too young. Most of us have had a lot of training in this area. This is something that is pretty much indisputed: a child should grow up knowing their story, and not remember the first time they were told. Adults who can recall being told for the first time, at 7yrs or 17 yrs, most report it to be very painful, and a negative memory.
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.
The only reason this would be used as something to tease about is if your kids are taught that it is. By not talking about it, you are sending the message that is is something to be ashamed of. Something "bad". I grew up in a home of mixed bio and adopted. My oldest brother, myself and my younger brother were all bio children of my parents, my 2 older sisters were adopted at birth (not related to each other). We all grew up knowing everyone's story. I never would have teased either of my older sisters that they were adopted, not any more than they would tease me that I was bio. It was always just "normal". No big deal. It will be a big deal in your house if you make it one.
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.

Yes. This is a converstaion you will have over and over gain as your child grows. My DD is 3 1/2 and she "knows" she is adopted. She really has no idea what that means. She will grow up knowing that she is adopted and her two older brothers are our bio children. When she is older and able to understand more she will. I know I will be having many conversations with her as she grows, it is not like I told her and that is that!

First, get on the same page with DH. Then, pull out that photo and show it to Keaton and tell him about what a wonderful day that was. If you talk about it just like any other family event, in fron of both Keaton and his younger brother, it will be just that, another family story.

by on Feb. 6, 2013 at 10:10 PM

Here is a link to some articles that you and DH can read together:

by on Feb. 6, 2013 at 10:20 PM
Thank you so much. I talked with him today and he has agreed with me that within the next few months we will sit down with him and gradually speak to him.
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by on Feb. 12, 2013 at 11:30 PM

I also agree that you need to start letting him know, now.  You don't need to sit him down and try to explain it all to him, though.  What he needs to become familiar with is  "Daddy adopted me".  He won't know what it means for a while, but it will be a familiar term.  As he grows, he will come to understand it, little by little, but it will never come as a shock to him. 

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