Home > Babies and Toddlers > Adoption > Raising an Adopted Child > Explaining Adoption to a Teenager
|

Explaining Adoption to a Teenager

It's important that children know they were adopted before they reach adolescence; it's too turbulent a time to suddenly surprise them with the news. Even if your teenage child already knows, however, he may still have questions.

Adoption Alert

Some adopted adults decide to seek out their birthparents when they grow up. Realize that the decision to search should be up to the adopted person, and not you. Don't press your grownup child to search. If she or he wants to search, try to be supportive and understanding. It's almost never a renunciation of you and your love.

In fact, although you might be fully comfortable with the adoption by the time your child is a teenager, your child may be more curious about it than ever. As the authors of Talking with Young Children About Adoption say, “By their children's adolescence [adoptive parents] have often reached a deep love of comfort and satisfaction about adoption and truly feel that it was “no big deal.” Yet the adolescent may question everything about adoption and need to acknowledge and work through a host of positive and negative feelings about it.”

Why talk to teenagers or adult children about adoption? There are several reasons:

  • They might have unresolved questions or issues and be afraid to ask you.
  • They might want to search for birthparents but not hurt your feelings.
  • They might have forgotten the information you've given them before.
  • They might have misunderstood information.
  • Some information, such as medical or genetic background, will be helpful to them if they have biological children.

Bringing up the subject of adoption with an older child might be awkward. Try saying something like, “Joyce, I know you know you were adopted, but I'm wondering if you have any questions you want to talk about. A lot of people do. But of course, not everyone does.” Then listen. Maybe your child won't want to talk about it right away. (Or ever!) Or maybe she needs time to frame her questions—rather than blurt them out as children do.

It might also be a good idea to review what you've told her in the past and update it to the adult version.

More on: Adoption

|

Excerpted from The Complete Idiot's Guide to Adoption © 2004 by Christine Adamec. All rights reserved including the right of reproduction in whole or in part in any form. Used by arrangement with Alpha Books, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

To order this book visit the Idiot's Guide web site or call 1-800-253-6476.


stay connected

Sign up for our free email newsletters and receive the latest advice and information on all things parenting.

Enter your email address to sign up or manage your account.

Facebook icon Twitter icon Follow Us on Pinterest

editor’s picks

earth day

celebrate our
planet with
these activities
and crafts.

GO

highlights

Healthy Smile Checklist for Kids
Have better dental check-ups with this free printable checklist that helps keep your child flossing, brushing, and smiling! Brought to you by Philips Sonicare.

Kindergarten Readiness App
It's kindergarten registration time! Use this interactive kindergarten readiness checklist, complete with fun games and activities, to practice the essential skills your child needs for this next big step. Download the Kindergarten Readiness app today!

8 Easter Egg Decorating Ideas
Need some fun ideas for decorating Easter eggs with the kids? Look no further for colorful and cool designs!

7 Ways to Curb Kids' Exposure to Violence
American children are exposed to violence more often than you might think. Learn how to limit your child's exposure to violence and manage the mental health and behavioral effects it can cause.