Back to School at FamilyEducation.com
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

get ready for school!

We’ve got your
shopping list,
lunch menu,
and more.

GO

highlights

Printable Fall Fun To-Do List
Celebrate the cooler weather with this printable checklist of fun fall activities for your whole family.

Kindergarten Readiness App Wins Gold
Our Kindergarten Readiness app won the Gold Award of Excellence in the educational category at the 2014 Communicator Awards. This valuable checklist comes with games and activities to help your child practice the essential skills she needs for kindergarten. Download the Kindergarten Readiness app today!

Top 10 Care Package Items for College Students
Show your college student that you love and miss her by mailing a care package full of dorm room essentials and comforting treats. Whether it's her birthday, exam time, or just because, get care package ideas to brighten her day.

Find Today's Newest & Best Children's Books!
Looking for newly released books for your child? Try our new Book Finder tool to search for new books by age, type, and theme, and create reading lists for kids!