Q&A: Telling my daughter she’s adopted

Q: When and how should we tell our child that she was adopted?

A: A child adopted at birth should be told about it from a very early age. This should happen almost as they are capable of understanding language. And it should be a recurring theme in conversations with your child throughout the growing up years. 

Unfortunately, some parents avoid disclosing this to their child because it makes them uncomfortable. Then, later on, they’re faced with having to tell an older child something they’ve been keeping secret. This can undermine the child’s sense of security and may result in feelings of rejection or betrayal.

You’ll want to share the facts using age-appropriate words and imagery. Her adoption should always be presented in a positive light. For example, a parent might tell a two- or three-year-old that mummy and daddy chose her over all the other children in the world. This will let her know how special she is.

When she is slightly older – four or five, maybe – you can explain the difference between a biological parent and an adoptive parent. Explain that she has actually had two different mothers. Her first mummy took care of her when she was very, very tiny, inside of her tummy. Then, after she was born, you brought her home to live with you because she was so extra-special. Please call our Family Support Services at 03-7954 7920 or write to support@family.org.my if we can be of help.

© 2018 Focus on the Family.  All rights reserved.  Used by permission.

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