Does your adopted child get asked questions about his or her adoption? Learn tips for how to help adopted kids answer adoption questions!
Most adoptive parents have had some experience in answering adoption questions from friends and family, especially while they were waiting for their child. However, adopted kids need to be taught how to answer questions from others, especially friends and classmates who are curious about their adoption status.
For many adoptive families, race and adoption questions go hand and hand, so it is necessary to prepare for questions and remarks that bring up racial issues. Choosing a way of sharing adoption information, practicing the answers to potential questions and talking about the impact of the questions are a starting point to preparing an adoptee for handling intrusive questions.
How to Help Adopted Kids Answer Adoption Questions
Choose How to Share Adoption Information
As is true with adoptive parents answering questions from friends, family and acquaintances, adopted children have a choice in how they answer adoption questions.
- Use humor to lighten the impact of the question
- Educate others on the realities of adoption
- Maintain privacy by telling the person it is none of his business
Most adopted children will role model their parents and do what seems most comfortable at the time. It is the job of the adoptive parents to help the adoptee develop strategies to give the child the upper hand in these situations.
Strategies for Practicing Answers to Adoption Questions
As transracial adoptive families are the most visible to the general public, quite often they are the families approached with the most questions not just about adoption, but culture and race as well. Raising Healthy Multiracial Adoptive Families lists several strategies adoptive families can use to teach adoptees how to handle intrusive questions to handle both issues.
- Talk about what racism is as a family.
- Teach adoptees how and when to speak up about racial, cultural and adoption stereotypes.
- Role-play questions and answers the adopted child may be asked.
- Prepare scripts for common questions asked about the child’s adoption and racial heritage.
- Discuss “What if?” scenarios and come up with appropriate ways to handle difficult situations.
- Read children’s books on adoption and talk about how the characters handled questions about their culture and adoption status.
When coming up with strategies for handling intrusive questions, adoptees also have the opportunity to practice using positive adoption language. The more comfortable children are about their adoption status, the more comfortable they will be in talking to others about adoption.
Talk About the Impact of Adoption Questions
After adopted children have answered adoption questions from classmates and friends, some of their own questions may arise. Adoptees may want to hear their adoption story again in detail and they may experience intense feelings of loss.
Adoption questions from others may also give rise to other issues such as fitting in and understanding cultural differences. In some cases, it may be appropriate for the adoptive parents to offer to speak to the child’s classmates or teachers to help address issues such as racial prejudice and adoption stereotypes.
As much as adoptive parents want to shield their children from the sometimes difficult questions asked by others, it is important to prepare adoptees to handle a range of adoption questions. By helping adopted kids choose a strategy, practice answers and talk about the impact of adoption questions, adoptive parents encourage their kids to be confident and secure about their adoptive family.