Will We Tell Our Son That He was Adopted?

Today is the 16th day of National Adoption Month!
See the rest of the Adoption Month posts here.

This week I am answering questions about the private domestic infant adoption process and our experience.
Today, I’m answering another question we are often asked:
Will you tell Anthony that he was adopted? 

Other versions of this question include what age we’ll tell Anthony about his adoption, or what exactly we will tell him.  The short answer to that question is YES! We’re already telling him!  We are telling him everything!

Along the lines of the post earlier this week about open adoption and what that means, the openness applies to him as well.  The “olden days” of a kid stumbling across photos in their teenage years and discovering a secret that’s been kept from them forever!  And we all remember one of the best Friends episodes where Monica and Chandler go to meet with another adoptive family to learn about the process and Chandler runs into the son in the hallway:

adopted chandler

Today child specialists agree that the most healthy thing for all three sides of the adoption triad (adoptive parents, birth parents, adoptee) is openness and honesty!


Telling a child about the way they joined their family is basically like telling your kid that they were born via C-section.  It’s a bit more complicated than that, but it is just that matter-of-fact; why wouldn’t you tell them?

Hiding the way they joined your family makes it seem like it’s something you’re ashamed of, they should be ashamed of, and that’s NEVER good (nor is it true).

So what age to tell?  Always tell!  I mean, in the same way you are now supposed to talk to kids about sex (age-appropriate stages, talk matter-of-factly from day one, answer all questions in age- and context-appropriate stages, etc.).  So for instance, don’t tell a four year old that they were adopted because their birth mom was a crack addict!  Obviously.

I started to type a list of “tips” for talking to kids about adoption, but this post was so long and I’d just scratched the surface.  I just deleted all of it, and I want to direct you to a booklet we love that was published by Adoptive Families (an online journal I’ve posted about before) called Positive Adoption Conversations.  If you would like a copy of this booklet, please fill out this form and I’ll make sure you get a copy.  It can be totally anonymous, I don’t even need your name, just your email address!  I’d recommend this book to any adoptive family or friend of family member of an adoptive family.  It is wonderful!

So anyways, that was a loooong way to answer the question of whether we’ll tell Anthony about his adoption or not.  The short answer: big fat YES!

Thanks for reading!
Just a reminder that while I pre-write posts for the most part, this week I am writing in real time; if you have any questions you’d like me to address this week, I’d love to answer them.  Please fill out the contact form and let me know your question!  Please also specify if you’d like your name kept anonymous.

Filed under: Adoption, November 2017