Talking about adoption with
your adopted child is a slow process and this may start as soon as possible -
ideally, when the child is about three years old, and, certainly, before the
child begins school - even though the child may not understand the full
implications of the concept. The story of her adoption and her life
slowly unfolds to her just as she is beginning to understand reality.
The word adoption should be used around the
house frequently and non-hesitantly so that the child finds nothing unusual
about it and sees it as synonymous to being loved and wanted.
What you say is
not as important as how you say it. If the child senses tension and
anxiety in your tone, she may not want to hear about it anymore. An appropriate
thing will be to give the child a big hug and kiss when you are happy with
something she has done and say, “We are so glad that we adopted you”.
It is very
important that adoptive parents yourselves explain the fact of adoption to
their child - through stories or examples. For a child to learn this personal
information from an outsider can be quite traumatic. The child may find it
difficult to trust you any longer.
A child cannot really begin to understand
adoption until she learns that a baby come from mother’s tummy. As she keeps
learning about both the process of birth and adoption (probably between the
ages of three and six), she starts asking questions like “If all babies come from
mother’s tummy, which mother’s tummy did I come from?” It is important to
give simple and truthful answers to questions that your child asks, no matter
how painful it is. The child must be helped to understand that the woman whose
tummy she was in gave her birth and, then, for some unavoidable problems of her
own, could not look after her and wanted her to have a happy home, and that you
are her ‘real’ mother now and for ever and that now
she is part of your family. In this way, she will develop and maintain a sense
of belonging to you as her parents. You should never make negative
comments about the birth parents or suggest that they abandoned her
easily. Some adopted children may suffer from a sense of insecurity if
they feel that their ‘birth’ parents did not love them enough.
1 Disclosure 2 Disclosure 3 (Bengali)