Helping Your Kids Understand Why You're Giving a Baby Up for Adoption
Choosing to give your baby up for adoption can be one of the most complex and selfless decisions that you make in your life. When most people imagine birth mothers, they may envision teen girls who are experience first-time pregnancies, but many birth mothers who choose the adoption route already have well-established families of their own.
The number of reasons that birth mothers have for choosing adoption are varied. Whatever your reasons, your children will inevitably need to know about your pregnancy and choice to have the baby adopted. They may then have a million questions and concerns. Follow these tips to best help your kids understand why you are choosing this path for your little one.
Be Comfortably Honest
It's important to be honest with your children about the adoption to avoid confusion and hurt feelings later. However, you should share information about the complex topic of adoption with them in a way that allows you and your kids to be comfortable with the situation. You may choose to focus on how wonderful it is for couples who can't have kids to adopt a baby.
Most children will be able to relate to the idea of selflessly giving up your baby so that the little one can be with a childless couple who want to be parents. Let your kids know why you are placing the baby for adoption while you are still pregnant, rather than waiting until the baby is born. If children realize you were hiding a pregnancy, that can cause them to feel betrayed.
If in doubt on what's age-appropriate for your child, you may want to discuss the situation with their pediatrician or a counselor. Otherwise, err on the side of caution and let kids lead the way with their questions. You may find that kids of all ages will pepper you with questions about the baby and what you are experiencing in the adoption process.
Ask Your Kids Open-Ended Questions
Choosing adoption when you already have kids can be a great thing for all involved. However, it can be hard for older kids to really grasp the concept of adoption at first. The best way to comfort them if they're afraid or to make sure they don't believe myths about option is to ask open-ended questions. The better you understand your kids, the better you can parent them.
Open-ended questions can give you a glimpse into your kids' minds and enlighten you about how they are feeling. Some open-ended questions can let you better understand how your kids perceive the whole thing, and they can even help you identify confusion your child may be experiencing.
Some questions you may want to ask include:
- Are any of your friends adopted?
- What do you think about the fact that the baby will be adopted?
- What do you like best about the idea?
- What do you like least about the idea?
- Why do you think the baby is being placed for adoption?
- What would you like the baby to know?
- Can you talk about any questions you may be afraid to ask?
- Do you think about the situation a lot?
- What has changed for you since learning about the adoption?
When you ask these open-ended questions, be sure to have follow-up questions prepared, too. Of course, it's impossible predict where a child's imagination may lead them or how they may respond to some questions. However, it's still good to have follow-up questions for the ones that you may find most difficult to ask. That way, you aren't caught off-guard at a tough moment.
Expose Your Children to Stories About Adoption
Some of the greatest kids' books ever written were about tough topics, and adoption is often addressed in books and movies for kids. There should be no shortage in adoption movies that you can watch with your children as a springboard to discussing the topic. Some movies that deal sensitively with adoption include:
- Angels in the Outfield
- Paper Dream
- Problem Child
- The Tigger Movie
- The Odd Life of Timothy Green
- Choose Your Own Adventure: The Abominable Snowman
Let your kids choose adoption-themed films, too. Unfortunately, some movies are completely unrealistic or simply outdated when it comes to the modern adoption process. That can be a great opportunity for a teaching moment, though. For example, if your children watch Annie, be sure they know that your baby will go to a couple that wants the baby very much, not an orphanage.
Finally, unlike first-time birth mothers who may not understand what it takes to raise a baby, moms with children often have a far deeper understanding of the sacrifices that go into parenthood. That can provide a greater peace of mind about this selfless decision. A Child's Dream is a licensed adoption agency that can help you find just the right adoptive family.