Telling Your Child Their Adoption Story

We were cruising the internet recently and came across an intriguing post inquiring how and when parents should tell their children they are adopted. We thought this was an important question that needed an answer, so we reached out to our pal Tao to help us out. Here’s her story about being and learning she was adopted.

I don’t remember being told I was adopted. I don’t remember the first-time mom or dad told me my story. I have no idea how old I was; it’s just always been a part of me. My story was told often, I think it was even retold on my 40th family birthday dinner. It isn’t your typical story people gush over, it has a ‘*oh my* element that can raise eyebrows and funny bits.

It came up in conversations organically. Along the lines of “Did I ever tell you the story about how we adopted you?”

I hope all parents use that same tone to describe how they adopted their child. It’s simple. Easy to weave into the conversation whether just to the child or to family and friends. No big reveal. Just a few short lines; my story goes something like this.

One day the doorbell rang and mom and my siblings went to see who was there. Mom was surprised to see Mrs. A, the Social Worker who’d helped them adopt my siblings, and invited her in. Mrs. A asked mom if they’d consider adopting another baby (me) because they couldn’t find a family for me, mom told Mrs. A they couldn’t adopt me, they had their hands full with two toddlers and everything else as it was, so Mrs. A left.

A few weeks later Mrs. A returned, ringing the doorbell again. Just like the last time mom answered it with my siblings behind her and invited her in, this time though, Mrs. A had brought me with her because she still hadn’t found a family to adopt me and would she reconsider.

Again, mom said no to the question. At that point, my oldest sibling took off to dad’s home office and told him Mrs. A was there, with me. Together, my sibling and dad came back upstairs and into the living room; dad looked at me and said “Sure we’ll adopt her.” That’s how I came to be adopted. Of course, that isn’t the end of my story or the many conversations we had over the years.

Bringing up your child’s adoption story makes it okay to talk about being adopted and okay to ask questions. When they are little, it’s just how and why they are adopted, but your conversations will get harder. They will get more in-depth, including wanting to talk about their other mother and father and why they needed to be adopted. Each time, the conversations can include information that the child can understand as time passes.

Thanks Tao for sharing your story.

The big takeaway here:  Tell your child he or she is adopted; tell them early and normalize the adoption conversations in your home. It’s never too early to begin to tell your kids their adoption stories so they remember always knowing it, and they always feel comfortable talking about their story.

Be sure to visit Tao over at her blog,!