Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Telling Your Kids That They're Adopted

Years ago, I was talking to an adoptive mom about her son and she said that she was going to wait until the “right time” to tell her son that he was adopted.  I flash backed to the "Family Ties" episode when Skippy found out that he had been adopted and his whole world fell apart. And, I wondered if my friend was making the right decision to not let her son go ahead and grow up knowing.  But, of course, either way, it was her decision.

So, years later, there we were.  We were adoptive parents, too.  Whether to tell our kids was a pretty easy and obvious decision for us, of course.  William was five years old, so I'm thinking that he knew already.  And if we didn't tell Lizzie and Antwan, I'm pretty sure they would've figured it out on their own.  :)       

When we adopted our dog, Rose, from the Humane Society, I corrected the kids when they said we were buying a dog.  I did this, partly, because, I’ve never bought a dog or cat in my life.  All my pets have been rescues.  But, I also did it because I thought it was a cool way to demonstrate another form of adoption.  Once she was officially ours, I made a point of talking about how she’s a member of the family now, too.  And, even though, it might take her time to settle in, we needed to be patient with her because she was one of us now.  

Anyway, the kids get that Rose was adopted, but I guess maybe I haven’t talked to Lizzie about the fact that she was adopted as much as I thought.  Because, yesterday morning, she was talking about Rose and how she was adopted and I said “You know, you were adopted, too.”   Well, Lizzie is so used to me teasing her that she assumed it was a joke.  She giggled and said “No, I’m not!”

When I told her that I wasn’t being silly and that she really was adopted, she just looked at me.  I then launched into an impromptu explanation.  I told her that some people came to us and said that she needed a Mommy and Daddy and asked if we wanted it to be us.   We were so excited and said yes! It was much more light-hearted and less detailed than the real story.  But, my four year old doesn’t need an education on the foster care system.  She only needs to know that she is special and that she and her brothers are our world. 
Then Brian came in the room and I told him what we were talking about.  So, he joined in, borrowing an anecdote that Harpo Marx had used on his own children.  He changed the names, of course. :)  He told her “We went looking for Lizzie.  We didn’t know where she was.  And, when we saw you, we said that’s Lizzie!”

He has used this with the boys, too. :)

I don’t know what Lizzie understood, but I’m pretty sure that she felt wanted.

So, feeling like I had taken advantage of an opportunity, I then took my girl to school and apologized to the teachers for bringing her late.  Sadly, I have to apologize for being late a lot. :)

One day, when the "where do babies come from" question comes, it's probably going to have a bit of a different spin to it.  The miracle of creating life isn't as relevant to me as the miracle of watching a life.  For me, it's not so much a question of where do the babies come from, but how did my babies get to me. :)


  1. In my classes this is a huge soapbox for me!! As an adopted child I always knew... I know that sounds funny, but my parents just kind if incorporated it into life and told me before I could even understand. It became very positive for me... My birth announcement even read "I wasn't expected I was selected". I think how you told Lizzie is great! Thanks for making people think!!!

    1. I didn't know you were adopted, Dana. :) I love the birth announcenent quote! That's awesome! Thanks! :)

  2. I love your posts! We hadn't told our son (who is brown, we are white) until this year. We felt he wouldn't have understood before he was 4 years old - but this year we introduced the word "adoption" and, when the questions started coming about why we look different, we incorporate the brief, preschool-appropriate version of his adoption into the conversation. this summer he will be 5 and we'll have our first "adoption day" party to celebrate the day he became ours. I have no idea if any of these are the right decisions, but sometimes you have to go with your heart, hold your breath and wing it.

    1. So true, you have to go with your heart. It's so hard to know what's right in many situations! Personally, I think what you're doing is great. :) Have fun at the adoption party!! :)

  3. Adoption day parties are the best.

  4. Such a great post, again!!

    I agree with Tanya about going with your heart, holding your breath and winging it. I do that alot. :-)

    1. Thank you!! I agree with her, too! :) It's the story of my life--winging it. ;)

  5. I found your blog through the Adoption Magazine blog hop. My son is 7. He has always known he was adopted. My daughter is only 17 months, but I've told her about her birth family. I asked my son what he thought about waiting to tell kids they're adopted. This is what he said:

    You can't just assume kids know they're adopted. You have to be open about it. You can't assume that they'll ask you questions, either. Many, many adult adoptees have said that, even though they knew they were adopted at a young age, their parents never talked about their adoption, so they thought it was taboo.

  6. I constantly spent my half an hour to read this blog's content daily along
    with a mug of coffee.

    Also visit my webpage; aloe vera juice weight
    loss (

  7. Fantastic beat ! I would like to apprentice while you amend your web site,
    how can i subscribe for a weblog site? The account aided me
    a acceptable deal. I had been a little bit familiar of this your
    broadcast offered vivid transparent concept

    Feel free to visit my blog

  8. Excellent blog here! Also your web site loads up fast!
    What web host are you using? Can I get your affiliate link to
    your host? I wish my web site loaded up as fast as yours lol

    My web blog Mandarin interpreter

  9. hello there and thank you for youur information – I have ceftainly pickeed up anything new from right here.
    I did however expertise some technical points usxing this site, as I eexperienced to reload the site manby times previous to I could get it to load correctly.

    I had been wondering if yoour web hosting is OK?
    Noot that I'm complaining, butt slow loading instances times will ofvten affect your placement in google and ccan damage your
    high quality score if ads and marketing with
    Adwords. Anyway I'm adding this RSS to myy e-mail and could look out for a lot mopre off your respective
    intriguing content. Ensure that yyou update this again very soon.

    Here is my web-site coconut water vs coconut juice (

  10. Donkey Kong Unblocked. is exciting action game about monkey. A mini Super Mario Unblocked. action game genre through classic frontier version of Flash, is one of the best Mario Games around. We choose the best Car Racing Games , best Run 3 Unblocked and best Run 4 Unblocked or Run Unblocked for you to play. You will have a pleasant experience while playing games .Play it now.