People Say the Most Amazing Things: Talking about adoption is an important and challenging part of being an adoptee.
Adoptees often face questions from peers, teachers, doctors, romantic interests, or even total strangers about their birthfamily, their relinquishment, their adoptive parents, or their culture and ethnicity.
Adoptive parents frequently get questions from friends, family members, or total strangers about their child’s background, the cost of the adoption services, and how much they know about their child’s birthfamily.
There are times when total strangers will ask the most personal and insensitive questions, seemingly without a second thought. In those moments, it is best to take a deep breath and remember that you are in control of your information and your story. You do not owe anyone more information than you feel comfortable sharing.
A Mother’s Tips for Helping Children Handle Adoption Questions at School can help you generate ideas about ways to respond to commonly-asked questions in ways that are respectful but keep you in control of your story.
It’s Your Story: Whenever your adoptive parents talk about adoption, they will likely be cautious in how much personal information they share about you. Your adoption is yourstory, and you should have as much control as possible over how and when your story is told. This awareness is important when they talk with physicians and teachers as well. Talk to your parents about who you want to know about your adoption and what you want them know.The information you want told may change over time, so be sure to reopen the conversation with your family as your feelings change.
Change Your World: Some adult adoptees choose to become active advocates. If this is your choice, this can empower you and bring a greater sensitivity to adoption issues in education, health care, journalism, and the arts, not to mention friends, family, and the wider community. Many adult adoptees have become advocates for greater adoption sensitivity in education and health care, and for change in legislation, such as access to original birth certificates.
- TeenCentral.Net from KidsPeace has a section where teens can post their questions or thoughts on a variety of topics and get responses from other teens. Type “adoption” on the home page to read what other teens have to say about their adoptions.
- W.I.S.E. Up!SM The Center for Adoption Support and Education (CASE) has created this wonderful resource that gives children tools for handling questions at school. Directed primarily at children ages 6 to 12, W.I.S.E. Up! may also be helpful for some adolescents and parents. A teaching kit for parent groups and educators is also available for purchase from CASE.
- How to Be an Adoption Advocate (from Adoptive Families magazine)
This list of resources is for your convenience. This list does not imply an endorsement from Bethany Christian Services for the organization, website, or individual. We have no control over or responsibility for the accuracy or relevance of their information.