Helping Your Adopted Child Thrive
The news of adoption can come as a devastating blow to children if parents deliver it too early, too late, or in the wrong way. However, when handled correctly, children grow to see the beauty in their new family and the life they’ve been given. At A Is 4 Adoption, it is our mission to make your adoption process as simple as possible so you can create an environment full of love and joy for your child. Because of this, we are set apart from other adoption centers in California, as we work with you during and after the adoption to make sure the transition allows both you and your child to thrive. One element to this puzzle is making sure you explain to your child that they are adopted at the right time.
What Time Is the Right Time?
There are many adoption experts and child psychologists who differ in opinion as to when the best time is to let children know they are adopted. We believe that you know your child best, and you may instinctively know when the right time comes, but it also helps to have a support system there to help you make that decision. After research with the National Adoption Information Clearinghouse and years of experience, we truly believe that the best time to tell children they are adopted is between the ages of six and eight.
Telling Your Toddler
There are some experts in the field who suggest you begin using the word “adoption” freely around your child as soon as they are able to speak, and then explaining to them that they are adopted between the ages of two and four. However, we have found that there is little to be gained by telling your child this early (particularly if you and your child have a shared race). This is because either they won’t understand the concept or they will feel threatened by the fact, thinking you may abandon them because they aren’t yours.
Telling Your Young Child
When children are between the ages of six and eight, they usually have developed a firm sense of who they are and their place in your family, they understand you love them, and they feel safe knowing you would never leave them. In addition, they are also old enough to understand the concept of adoption and that they had a first mommy and daddy who wanted to give them their best chance.
Telling Your Older Child/Teenager
Waiting until your child is ten or older to tell them about their adoption can be a devastating blow to their self-esteem and their confidence in you. At this point, it may feel to them like you’ve been lying to them their entire lives and they are a different person than they’ve always believed. In a time when identity is essential to wellbeing, this imbalance could threaten your relationship with your child, as well as their relationship with the world in general.
The right time and the right place are unique to each child and each parent, but telling them when they’re younger is usually better. If you adopted an older child or one of a different race than your own, it may be important for you to tell them they are adopted before they are six years old. Contact our adoption center today if you have any questions or are looking for a support system to be there when you need one.