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How adoptive parents might feel

It is very normal for adoptive parents to experience a range of feelings at different stages. Try to acknowledge these feelings and discuss them with your partner or friends.

It is easy to feel threatened if your child wants to talk about their birth family. Please try to understand that being interested in their past doesn’t mean they’re not happy with you. Imagine how curious you would be if you didn’t have much information about your birth family.

The following are quotes from parents who have previously adopted with us in the past, showing the important, touching and amusing sides of speaking with children about adoption!

“Further to your November In Touch newsletter, I thought I would share recent conversations I have had with my lovely six-year-old daughter Amber.

“We were travelling to a play area with two of her friends when one of the boys stated, "I've got two dads". Without hesitation, Amber retorted, "Well, I've got two mummies, my tummy mummy and my real mummy, who is driving the car".

“About a week later Amber and I were discussing the difference between a psychologist and a psychiatrist (like you do with a six-year-old!). I explained that a psychologist was like the lady called Cas who we used to see when Amber was confused and did not know who to trust to look after her. As quick as a flash Amber jumped onto my lap and give me a great big hug saying, "Don't be silly mummy, I always knew you were going to look after me and love me".

“This may sound like nothing out of the ordinary, but at two-years-old Amber was probably one of the most disturbed children in care. At three-and-a-half she was diagnosed as having an Attached Disorder, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and Autism. It's been a long road but very worthwhile.”

Jackie T, adoptive parent [Back to top]

“We have always felt it important - particularly as our boys were very young - to remind them exactly how they came to live with us. We reinforce that they were loved by their birth parents and that their birth parents were given more than one chance to try to look after them etc. Here are some of the comments they have made - maybe as a result of our "openness".

Like the time I was driving the car to our caravan which is an hour and a half's drive away and one of them asked a leading question relating to their lives with their birth family which made the whole journey become an excerpt from 'This is Your Life'! How did we ever get to the caravan? Then every journey to the caravan after that prompted a memory recall and they would ask, "Mum, can you tell us that story again please?" That story was theirs but they almost didn't recognise it, as much as we had tried to reinforce it!

Or the time we all waved goodbye after a contact session and one of the boys said, "Well they looked ok didn't they? They looked like they could be allowed another chance didn't they?" AAAAGH!!

Or the time we were all at the local library and the boys chose Burglar Bill books and then proceeded to explain to the kind and gentle librarian - whose eyes were getting wider and wider - that their "Uncle so and so was in jail. That's why they hadn't seen him for a while"! Nearest hole anywhere? Would I be able to take them back without feeling I had to explain myself?

Or maybe the best one was leading up to their adoption. We had read all the right books to them, explained how the Wise Old Owl was going to make the decision etc. Then we realised they thought that when we went to court we were going to be like something out of Winnie the Pooh… with a real owl heading the proceedings!!”

Nicki W, adoptive parent

Speaking with your child about adoption may not always be easy, but that does not mean it should be hidden away. Understanding their history is essential to help them build a solid sense of identity, and as their parent you are the best person to help them with this. [Back to top]

 

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