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how to tell toddler re: adoption

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 

Our DD is 20 mo and I'm wondering when we can start the adoption conversation.  Is this too early?  What can we do at this age?  We have a baby book with her adoption story and pictures from DDs birth and of her birthmother.  But DD is still at an age where she wants to tear pages and I don't want her to ruin the baby book, which I want her to have for the rest of her life.  The photos are on the computer so we can def. look at those and start a conversation about them.  Is this a good place to start?

 

We are also beginning the process again hoping to adopt another baby.  It seems like this would be a good time to introduce adoption into our conversations - telling DD how we are hoping to expand our family.

post #2 of 6

You could print up the pictures on the computer and put them in a plastic toddler photo album book.

 

Right now we have a few books on how babies are made. When I read them to our daughter, I read sections that say, "When you were in your mother's uterus" as "When you were in your Mama _____'s uterus." We also read her children's books about adoption.

 

When our son was 2 and we were on the adoption path we opted to NOT tell him of our adoption plans even though he was so verbal he could say things like, "These flowers smell like pollination." Adoption can take years and a child that young has no concept of that amount of time.

 

We prepared him for adoption mainly by reading him new baby books. They were on our shelf and we read them randomly just as we read any other book. And whenever I could get my hands on a baby I would let him see me holding the baby. We got a call about a just born baby (who I started nursing at 6 hours of age.) When we went to meet her, we told him he was staying with the babysitter while we went and helped someone. I stayed at the hospital and my husband went and got him. He told him I was at the hospital helping a baby. He was still nursing at the time and when I nursed her, he just took it as how one feeds a baby. Actually, I offered to let him nurse at the same time and he said, "Baby first."

 

We did not want to say sister or adoption or anything like that until TPR was done. That was 3 days for the birthmom, but the birthfather was unknown so his rights weren't terminated until day 70. We did not want to risk saying this was his sister then have her taken away from us. We were afraid he would worry that someone could take him. So, until all TPR was done, we just told him we were taking care of the baby. If he asked why, we just said because she needed someone to take care of her. We finalized about 3 weeks after the birthdad's TPR. When we had our finalization date we told our son that we were going to adopt the baby and she would be his sister and she would stay with us forever. They are now incredibly close and a joy to watch together.

post #3 of 6
I have a daughter conceived by donor insemination. While it's not adoption, it is a different way of coming into a family. I wanted conversation about her origins to be something normal -- not something to whisper about or treat as if shameful. So I started talking to her about DI from birth. It gave me a lot of practice saying and finding the words. I think as sson as possible is the right time to talk about adoption, too. It's not a major conversation to suddenly spring upon a child one day; it's just a normal part of life. I think it's good you are wanting to start this soon.

My oldest is a 100% bio child to us. I sometimes tell her about her origins and her birth day. I do the same for my DI-conceived daughter, only the story is a little different. We are now working on adopting a child we have fostered for a year. He has his own story, too -- how I felt when I first got an email about him, when we first met at the hospital, that he grew in his birthmother's womb.

I have picture books for each of them that are specific to how they came into our family (oldest was conceived with IVF, so that's what her book is about). When one gets our her book and asks me to read it, often another will get their book out, too.
post #4 of 6
Thread Starter 
Thank you both for your suggestions. I'm putting together a photo album for DD with pictures of her birth family, her birth and our adoption trip. As she gets a little older and is no longer tearing pages out of books, we will look at her two baby books with her and talk about her adoption.
post #5 of 6
I'm not experienced in the area and sure there are plenty of good resources out there...and I found a book called "tell me again about the day I was born" by Jamie lee Curtis (a picture book) that was about adoption. Looked good. She has other good books out there. Good luck. Lucky kid to have such a thoughtful mommy.
post #6 of 6

I'm no champ for this, either.  My ad is 2-1/2yo and we've had her since she came home from the hospital, but haven't had "the talk" yet.  That being said, it's not really something that never comes up.  Especially because we have a 7yo bioson.  We're very open about the fact that ad came out of "bm's name" belly and bs came out of my belly; and that ad looks different from us because "bm's name" was Hispanic and ad looks like her because she was in bm's belly.

 

At some point, I'm sure she's going to ask more in-depth questions, but I'm not really pushing it on her.  I don't really want it to be a big deal as much as "just the way it is".

 

That being said, I'm WOEFULLY under-read on the topic and am going primarily off of advice of several years of message boards of other adoptive parents and sw's willing to participate and offer expertise/research.  I should really find something for when the day comes that she asks and understands what she's asking.

 

For now, we are just honest whenever the topic comes up in any way.

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