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  #1  
Old 08-01-2004, 06:36 AM
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snowowl snowowl is offline
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how to tell an older child hes adopted

I am a mother of 2 bchildren and 1 achild. I am looking for some advice on how to tell my adopted son he is adopted. He just turned 9. We have had him since birth so we are the only family he knows but I know it is time to tell him and I guess I am scared of his reaction and honestly I'm not sure how to tell him. Has anyone been through this at this age? Any help/advice would be greatly appreciated.
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  #2  
Old 08-01-2004, 10:07 AM
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I'm kind of miffed your agency didn't tell you the importance of being honest about the adoption from his birth! (I am not blaming you!) Tell him in a calm, matter-of-fact manner ASAP. Emphasize he was a CHOSEN baby and the joy of adopting a child. Do not act ashamed.
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  #3  
Old 08-02-2004, 09:20 AM
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As a late discovery adoptee, PLEASE tell him as soon as possible. Don't leave it up to anyone else to tell him.

I agree to tell him in a calm manner. Be sure to reinforce the love. He will probably be disappointed (but not at you) and may end up acting out. Just be there for him, as you would your own children. No matter what, just be there for him.

Our own adopted child knows he's adopted. As he's grown, we've allowed him to ask the questions. We answer him in a truthful manner. If we don't know the answer, we tell him. He's already expressed interest in meeting his birth parents, but has repeatedly stated he wanted us there with him--the meeting will be in 4 more years. Then again, he thinks it's neat that I've found out I was adopted...but he hates the way I did find out. Now he has someone to talk to about his feelings.

Don't overload him with the story at first. Just allow him time to adjust. Adoptees have issues, no matter when they are told. Be aware that at some point in his life he will want to meet or know his birth parents. Support him in this quest. It will draw you closer.
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12/06/58 CA Found out I was adopted on 4/15/04.

In conversation with birth mom since 11/12/04.

B/dad found. Deceased: 21 September 1996.
(confirmed)

Looking for a possible half-sister born 25 May, 1967/68.
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  #4  
Old 08-02-2004, 11:43 AM
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There is a book about telling kids they are adopted, I read it but I don't remember its name, I checked it out from a public library. The book had stories of children who found out at different ages. I think the ones told young asked more questions as time went on, but the children who found out at older ages were more likely to worry that it would upset their parents to be asked questions, and so they'd just keep them to themselves. The book recommended bringing the subject up every once in a while after telling a child, in case they have questions they are bottling up.
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Old 08-02-2004, 12:09 PM
Lifesabeach Lifesabeach is offline
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Wink

I just finished reading your post and the responses you have received.

I was adopted into a family with a a bson of their own. For as long as I can remember, I have always known I was adopted. My parents told me as soon as they felt I was old enough to understand. I believ I was around 4. I can remember growing up telling everyone that "I was the special child...I was chosen by my mom and dad!" I know that probably ticked my older brother off a bit, but did I care?

I stress to you, PLEASE tell your child now, and don't wait any longer. At 9, he'll understand! Tell him the whole wonderful process you went through, and how lucky you are to have found him. Make him realize how special he really is to you and your family. Although I learned at a very early age I was adopted, my parents chose not to disclose any more info to me. It was never discussed. Unfortunatly, both my aparents are deceased...and I know nothing!!!!

It's a lonely feeling!!!


Good Luck!!! Let us know how things go!
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  #6  
Old 08-02-2004, 04:32 PM
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thank you to all have replied here. There is a bit more to my story. We did pick him up right from the hospital but he was a foster child with us and we did not adopt him until after he was 2. He does not remember himself as a foster child because we were always his mommy and daddy. He does remember other foster children I had when he was young tho. He did visit with his bmother in jail and in a drug rehab but he was so very small that he has NO recollection of this. He did visit his bfather (alcoholic) and I do have a picture of the 2 of them together but again he was to young to remember any of this. He also has a bsister and bbrother.
I don't feel I need to tell him all this "other" info. I hope you all agree on that with me. His bmother used drugs her whole pregnancy so he does have some behavioral problems and hyperactivity but he is such a joy. He is a very bright little boy, all A's in school.
I am planning on telling him over the next few days. I just have to prepare (in my mind) what and how I want to tell him. Would you all suggest I tell him the truth if he asked if I ever met his bmother and father? I think hes to young to know ALL the facts right now.
Thanks again for all the advice.
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  #7  
Old 08-02-2004, 05:19 PM
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I am so glad that you are going to tell him that he is adopted. Does your family know anyone else that is adopted? It might help him if he has someone to relate to. I would tell him how he joined your family and anything else he wants to know about. I would try to sound as positive as possible about the bparents. It really helped my girls to know that their bmom didn't know how to be a mom due to the way she was raised. One of my daughters couldn't understand why their biomom didn't protect them when they were molested. I just recently told them that their bmom was also molested as a child so that is why she didn't know what to do when it happened to them and they seemed to be relieved. It is hard for any child to think their parents did the things they did because they didn't love them and it is rarely true anyway. Alot of kids have issues, I wouldn't want hime to think any of his were from his bparents using drugs or alcohol because that would make him feel less than perfect and we all know our adopted children are perfect.
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  #8  
Old 08-02-2004, 05:20 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by snowowl
thank you to all have replied here. There is a bit more to my story. We did pick him up right from the hospital but he was a foster child with us and we did not adopt him until after he was 2. He does not remember himself as a foster child because we were always his mommy and daddy. He did visit with his bmother in jail and in a drug rehab but he was so very small that he has NO recollection of this. He did visit his bfather (alcoholic) and I do have a picture of the 2 of them together but again he was to young to remember any of this. He also has a bsister and bbrother.
I don't feel I need to tell him all this "other" info. I hope you all agree on that with me. His bmother used drugs her whole pregnancy so he does have some behavioral problems and hyperactivity but he is such a joy. He is a very bright little boy, all A's in school.
I am planning on telling him over the next few days. I just have to prepare (in my mind) what and how I want to tell him. Would you all suggest I tell him the truth if he asked if I ever met his bmother and father? I think hes to young to know ALL the facts right now.
Thanks again for all the advice.


My child has known about the drug use that his bparents still use. He does know about what has happened to him as a result. He still wants to meet them which is fine by us. He knows we love him. No problem with that.

He also knows that we know his bparents. His bmom is a relative, although the courts do not let her see him and he is in protective custody--even after the adoption was final. He knows about this problem, and knows who in our community is designated a "safe" person/house.

We didn't introduce the drug situation to him until he was about 9. Since then, he's known and has even asked his doctor about it. He's okay with it, as far as it can be okay.

Looking over the "story," it looks like he is more than a special little man. By all means tell him what you are comfortable with, at the same time telling him what he's comfortable with.

Good luck!
__________________
12/06/58 CA Found out I was adopted on 4/15/04.

In conversation with birth mom since 11/12/04.

B/dad found. Deceased: 21 September 1996.
(confirmed)

Looking for a possible half-sister born 25 May, 1967/68.
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  #9  
Old 08-03-2004, 11:26 AM
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Regarding explaining the drug use, etc., to your son, there is a book called "Telling the Truth to Your Adopted or Foster Child: Making Sense of the Past" that is very good and describes how to explain information in age appropriate ways. I forget exactly but it was something like, if the bmom had been raped, when the child is young mention that their bparents didn't know each other, and then when the child is a little older say they didn't like each other, and the tell the whole truth when the child is 10 yrs (I forget the exact age, but I remember the book emphasized that children need to know all the information, good and bad, before they hit puberty. I think it had something to do with the development of abstract reasoning and some sort of 'identity' formation in the early teen years, but I forget the details, maybe more problems if the kid finds out later and has to reform their identity at an abnormal stage of life?).
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  #10  
Old 08-07-2004, 01:34 PM
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Well, I told my son this afternoon that he is adopted. It probably was one of the hardest things I have ever had to do. I had much difficulty with it but did not let my fears and insecurities show. I went in the bathroom and cried :-)
So far all he asked was why his mother gave him up for adoption. I told him she was young and just was not able to be a good mother so she loved him so much that she wanted us to be his forever mom and dad. He asked their names and I told him. He asked if his "real" mom was alive. I told him I am his "real" mom and that I did not honestly know if his bmother was still alive. He wanted to know if I knew where she lived(which I do not). I did tell him when he gets older if he wants to look for his bparents I would help him do that.
There is alot more he needs to know but not all at once.
But my worse fear already happened. He said to me that I am not his "real" mom. I did not give birth to him. So I did tell him I am very much real and I am always going to be his mom. He is very close to my mother and he asked if his grammy was his real grammy.

If anyone has any advice from this point on I would greatly appreciate it. It is somewhat of a comfort to know the "secret" is out now. But I have to be honest, I am so worried that I am going to be hearing alot more of "you're not my real mom" from my son.

He actually was more inquizative about his bmother than his bfather. I did not even tell him he has a bbrother and bsister that bdad is rasing. I guess all in good time.

Thanks again to all who offered suggestions :-)
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  #11  
Old 08-07-2004, 03:40 PM
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Hi snowowl,
I'm glad you were able to tell your son about his adoption.I'm adopted but have known for as long as I can remember.
I see myself as having 2 mothers, both of whom are real.
As an adoptee my feeling would be let your son call his birth mum his real mum if that's what he wants to do and don't feel threatened by it.I wonder if some of your delay in telling him has been out of fear because she is the "real" mum, and that makes you less "real"?That's only a hypothesis not something I believe.
I think if you get caught up in a debate as to which mum is "real" any important questions and feelings he has could be supressed.At the end of the day he had no controll or choice in his adoption and as a child his feelings/welfare are of the greatest importance in all of this. I know this may come across strongly, so if it's any consolation I'm adopting myself and feel that my daughter's birth mum holds a unique position that I can never fully fill-hope that makes sense.
My feeling would be answer his questions as honestly and kindly as you can.He has a right to know his history and if I imagined myself as 9 again I would want the truth even if there was pain involved in it.I would suggest you anticipate any questions and practice any answers that you will give and that you work through any difficult feelings you have so that your son is able to face his own grief(if it now surfaces),without feeling responsible for your feelings.
I think even when there are very good reasons for a child not being able to stay with birth parents there may still be a grief as to why they could not stay with them.The adoptive family does not automatically eradicate the grief by providing a better place or more love.Adoption can hurt for a long,long time.
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  #12  
Old 08-07-2004, 07:12 PM
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Snowowl

Hi, I am an adoptee also, but I don't agree with allowing your son to continue to call his biological Mother his 'real Mom' at all.
You have told him the truth and now he is sorting the facts in his 9 year old mind. I remember when I was small, I said something like that once too, all I meant by it when I said 'real' was, the fact that is the Mother that gave birth to me, I certainly didn't mean that my Mom wasn't my 'real' Mom, she always has been. Just talk with him about it some more, I wish you the best snowowl, keep posting. ~Julie
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  #13  
Old 10-07-2004, 12:25 PM
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Hi

Our daughter is 3 1/2 and we already started talking to her about adoption. The best way for ME, was to tell her that some moms can grow babies in their bellies and some can't. So God picked a very special girl for YOU to grow in and when it was time for you to be born, MOM and DAD came to the hospital, picked you up and brought you home.

Right now, for her age, she's satisifed with this. I don't feel the need to get into why her birthmother chose adoption, instead of raising her herself. She wouldn't understand and I feel there's plently of time to get into that as she grows.

If and when my daughter is older and wants to find and meet her birthmom, well, then I'll help her in that process. I could never bad mouth the birthmom or want to discourage my daughter in any way because this woman gave me a beautiful child that I wasn't able to have on my own! I will do the same thing for my 2nd daughter too, she's 2 1/2 months old right now.

I think when you talk to your children at a young age, there aren't surprises later and hopefully they will thank you for that as adults. Good luck to everyone!
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  #14  
Old 02-02-2005, 06:20 PM
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Check out my webpage in order to see my recently published children's book that addresses this issue.Just click on my name/profile,and then click on the profile for a full description of the book and a little more about my family.
Let me know what you think.
Stacie
I am an adoptee,and I didnt find out that I was adopted by my father until I was 21.I would not advise not telling him,as it hinders prper emotional development/identity issues may result.Perhaps,this is one rreason why I became a therapist and an adoptive mother.I encourage you to tell him soon,but realize it really is a celebration for everyone.
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