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All About Adopted Children

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    It’s very common for kids not to ask questions—particularly about their birth parents—because they don’t want to hurt their parents’ feelings. Or they assume you’re uncomfortable talking about their adoption. I always stress on the importance of looking for opportunities to talk about adoption. For instance, if your child is a talented artist, you might say, “You’re such a great artist. I wonder if your birth mom was good at art. Even moments of anger are good opportunities. During an argument, your child might yell “You’re not my real mother! Understandably, this is very painful. But it’s also an opportunity to say, “Do you wonder about what your birth mother or father would’ve done?” This shows your child that it’s safe to ponder and talk about these topics. Don’t talk about how lucky your child is to be adopted. Don’t let your friends and family talk about how lucky your child is either. You are setting up a situation where she will feel obligated to be grateful. Which also means that when your child starts questioning their adoption and identity, they won’t feel comfortable talking to you about it. You can think of yourselves as the lucky ones to have her now in your life. Don’t focus on how special your child is. That is, don’t tell your child that you adopted them because they are special. Although this sounds harmless and loving, young children if told that too many times, believe they have to be special to maintain their parents’ love. In other words, your child might believe your love is contingent on their specialness. This can translate into your child working tirelessly to become the best athlete or to get straight As—all attempts at remaining special. Instead, Allow your child to just be whoever she is.

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