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Help! I'm not sure how to handle the situation!

Posted by on Feb. 5, 2013 at 11:27 AM
  • 13 Replies

My son was taken by his birth parents when he was 2 months old by child protective services and was place with my husband and I who are related to him but only through 2 marrages! Well my son has a sister through birth as well and she was taken from the parents as well but she was 4 at that time and knew what was going on asn was placed with her aunt and uncle she is now 10! Well he does know about his sister that lives somewere else but thats all he knows. Well 2 weekends ago his sister came to visit for the weekend and told him and my older daughter he is adopted. Well the kids didnt say anything to me until this morning when my daughter asked me if he is adopted! He is 6 along with my daughter who is also 6. I dont know how to handle this situation. I know we will have to talk to him now about it but I am not sure how to go about it or even what to say to them. Help! 

by on Feb. 5, 2013 at 11:27 AM
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by on Feb. 5, 2013 at 11:54 AM
Have you not talked with your son about his adoption before?
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by on Feb. 5, 2013 at 11:58 AM

no not at all! 

by on Feb. 5, 2013 at 12:13 PM
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I think I, along with most of the women on this board, believe in telling a child their life story from the get go.  The goal of that is for them to grow up with their life story being normal to them and to always know who they are vs having an identity crisis by finding out when they are older.

Keep it age appropriate of course.  Maybe say something like "You're birth parents weren't able to care for you and your sister the way they should.  That doesn't mean they didn't love you, they just couldn't take care of you and keep you safe.  So a case worker and a judge decided it was best for you to come live with us because we know how to take care of you and keep you safe.  Though you didn't grow in my tummy like (insert your dd's name), when we signed your adoption papers you became as much our child and a part of this family as she is."  As he gets older, you can tell him more details according to his age and maturity.

by on Feb. 5, 2013 at 3:15 PM
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You definitely need to be honest and straightforward with both kids. Perhaps you could explain adoption and the basic story to both kids, exactly what Beka said above, and then just let them know that you're available to answer any questions. You can let them know that big sister was also adopted for similar reasons, and that the kids are never to blame.

I'd follow up with your son later and let him know that you really are happy to talk with him about it. But you need to address this with both kids. It affects your daughter too.

Do you have any photos of the BPs to show him? Any way to help him have a little piece of his story? Just a thought, he may ask.

Because you've waited so long to tell him, and because he heard from someone else, you may really need to emphasize that there is no shame in being adopted. He shouldn't hide it, he shouldn't be embarrassed, and it's not a dirty secret. You really don't want him to think this is something bad about him, you know? Maybe just apologize for not bringing it up earlier and let him know that it's because you love him just as much as if he'd grown in your belly.
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by on Feb. 5, 2013 at 3:35 PM

I dont have pictures of his birth parents but they each have a facebook account i can show them picture off of. He knoes his birth mom but as her first name not mommy or anything like that and his father is in jail do I tell him that? 

by on Feb. 5, 2013 at 3:52 PM
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I'd let him guide the conversation. Just say that they were unable to keep him safe, and the judge decided he needed to come home with you. Let him take it from there if he has questions, or if he needs to process. You don't want to overwhelm him with information he hasn't asked for, and if you keep yourself open, he'll ask what he wants to know.

My son (5yo) has asked why they can't care for him, but he's never asked where they are. If your son does ask about BD, it's okay to say that he made some bad choices and now he is in jail because of that... At least, that's what I would say to my son, though his bdad is currently on parole.

Try to be careful in how you speak about the BPs, too, so that you aren't bashing them or focusing on the overly negative things about them. I have heard it can be very painful to adoptees to have the APs trash the BPs, and that makes sense. BPs are a part of this child, and the kids know that. You also want to be open to his feelings about them, which can be hard to do unless you stay neutral when talking about them with him.
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by on Feb. 6, 2013 at 1:46 AM

A rule I have with my DS (adopted) is that I will never lie to him unless it would cause him or someone else harm.  I think honesty is the key.  Explain with enough detail to satisfy curiosity and if they are receptive, then you can share more, and if they have questions, answer them honestly.  It goes a long way later in life (my son is now 10) for what they are willing to trust you on.

by on Feb. 6, 2013 at 5:52 AM

Adoption can leave many of us without ideas of explanation! When you throw a small child into that mix it can be even more difficult.

i used my library as a resource. They have a wide array of childrens books on this topic that are very good. The Internet is also a good way to find a book that might be appropriate for your sons age. also is a great resource for this issue, as well as others adoptive parents might encounter. Here is the web address for the page of parenting topics.

But most importantly, this information needs to come from you. These are resources to give you ideas about what to say and things to do. You might want to consider making adoption an open topic in your home. 

by Claire on Feb. 6, 2013 at 6:22 AM

I agree with Sarah completely. It is definitely time for this discussion since his sister told him. Be prepared for anger that you withheld information about his story. Many adoptees that are not told from the beginning have very understandable anger at their families. 

I would give age appropriate information and let him guide the discussion. Answer as truthfully as possible, but gently. Explaining to him why adoption happens and why he was adopted is your best course of action at the moment. 

Our dd was adopted at 17 months from China so we started on day 1 with her. She has always known and we talk about adoption on a regular basis in our home. Lilly will celebrate 6 years home in a couple of months and since we have discussed it with her at length, so she is very comfortable in her skin and in her story. 

Good luck. 


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

by on Feb. 6, 2013 at 6:27 AM

I agree with what everyone is saying. Be honest, explain it in words that he can understand, let him lead the conversation, and don't forget your daughter as she will also have questions.  

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