Talking About Adoption With Your Child
Advice for families from adoptive parents to answer adoption-relation questions.
Growing up with two fathers can present children with obstacles to overcome in public and with their peers at school. Over the course of their childhood, these kids will learn the best ways to handle social interactions regarding their family composition. Some adoptive families have provided us with advice for parents and their children to answer adoption-related questions.
When someone makes a comment quickly in passing, it is easy for the child to simply reply that they are adopted and have two dads, end of story. But remember, the younger the child, the more open they are. Therefore, it is important to prepare your child as much as possible for these situations from an early age.
Children are naturally curious, so questions about their family and background will usually come up on their own. This is an excellent opportunity for quality communication within the household. If another child asks yours about them having a mother, teach your child that they have a “birth mom" but the parents they live and spend time with are their two dads. Many kids will accept this answer and not think too much about it. Others will push for more information.
The questions you get in public may vary based on your geographical area, but it is usually obvious which questions are meant to be hostile and judgmental. Always let your children know that if they ever feel uncomfortable in a situation, they don't have to answer any questions and try to change the subject.
Questions aren't always about where a child's “mom" is. In a transracial adoption, other complex issues can arise. Always do your best to prepare your child from an appropriate developmental age for when this subject may come up. It maybe be a simple answer such as, “not all families look the same," or something of that nature
Questions at school about adoption
It is easy for a child to understand their adoption, where they come from, and what being gay means while they are in their home environment. Schools and other similar settings can provide a tougher atmosphere for a child to explain this. One way Open Arms Adoption recommends discussing adoption positively with their children from a young age is by reading them adoption-related books.
The best way to teach your kids how to handle questions around other children is to give them a few simple lines to answer queries. The easiest line to answer a question with is simply, “I have two dads." It is easy to understand why other children are curious about their friend and classmate's home life, so the key is to make it as easy as possible for them answer. As a child gets older, that is when things become more detailed.
Gay adoption friendly resources
When going through the adoption process, it may be helpful to utilize gay adoption friendly groups and resources. Having support can make the process much easier.
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) are two organizations that offer specific resources and directories. Finding a local group for Rainbow Families is also a great resource to use.
Luckily, in recent years many adoption agencies such as Open Arms Adoption Network have become LGBT competent, and it is much easier for same-sex couples to go through the adoption process. Many local adoption agencies hold social outings for adoptive families. This provides a great opportunity to build community with one another, especially for the children.
There are also many ways to connect with other gay dads who have adopted through groups on social media. This offers them the opportunity to share experiences and advice with one another, and is a great tool to connect with other parents who are living an adoption just like yours.
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