Undecided on when to have "The Talk" (Lengthy)

Hi all I am in need of some advice. My situation is a bit different but not yet uncommon. My Husband and I adopted a child from a relative at birth. My child is now 7 years old and is not aware. The relative that we adopted from had a child previously that she no longer has custody of. She also has taken so many drugs that it has affected her ability to take care of herself and she is currently living with another relative. She is almost 30 at this point. I have spoken to other mothers that have adopted within the family and some that adopted a child from a previous relationship and I am getting both positive and negative responses to having the adoption story being shared with the child. While there are people around us who are aware of the adoption, this isn't a known fact to most of the outside world as our child does look like both my husband and I. We have recently decided to tell our child about his "birth story" since the age is appropriate now and we were going to wait until Summer break so we would have time for any necessary time for talks or whatever we needed to ensure that the emotional well being of our child is in a good place but after a conversation with a friend over the weekend; I am not feeling this may be a good idea. I was told that once my friend told her child that she wasn't her biological mother at the age of 8; that she could tell that in her eyes she was crushed and things changed. Her child is now 18 and is acting out after her biological brother contacted her and there is little to no communication as to what struggles she is facing right now which does scares me beyond infinity. With us having a relative adoption we also have the task of explaining, at some point, the family tree. I don't know that is it beneficial to our child to know that uncles/aunts are really grand parents, grandmothers are really great-grandmothers and then there also a biological sibling involved. We have contact with our child's sibling because she is our cousin so I feel as though we will affect more than one life by telling our child right now and I know that neither of the biological parents want us to say anything but I also don't want to hide or lie to my child. I also have some fear now that the biological mother is 20 minutes away from my home and if my child knew who she was; I wouldn't trust her around my child. I don't know what she is capable of and if I tell my child who she is; how can I tell my child to stay away from her should she come around? In my head, it's almost better that she stay a distant relative that my child has seen like 3 time in their life. My child doesn't even know her so I'm so afraid that it would be too confusing and will do more damage than not. I am looking into finding a family therapist to get a professional opinion this week but I thought it would helpful to talk to someone who is an adopted parent or someone who has been adopted. I appreciate any stories of experience and/or advice. Please no judgement on our life decision. I want the best for my child; whatever that may be.   

Re: Undecided on when to have "The Talk" (Lengthy)

  • Things will definitely get more complicated if you tell your child he was adopted, especially since you did adopt from a relative and she will always be a part of your life. However, other people in your family know. The secret may slip out and your child may end up learning this information one day from someone other than you and your husband and that would be worse than simply being honest with your child now.

    I personally haven't had to go through this yet because our foster son is too young to understand, so hopefully someone with more experience can chime in as well.
  • Thank you so much for the input. I was beginning to wonder if anyone was on this board! 

    I agree with you and I have set up an appointment with a family counselor to see how we should approach it and how much information we should give at this age, if any at this point. I feel as though it's all about the way we communicate it when the time comes to talk about it because I believe that one day it will regardless whether if we initiate the conversation or not. We obviously don't want our child to be told by someone else; that would be a total devastation to us all. I realize that we also need to find the right way to protect him from what could be a harmful situation since the birth mother/relative is nearby and we are uneasy about her potential actions, especially if she learns that we told our child. I was told about a family in a very similar situation and I plan to reach out to them next week to see if they have time to speak on how they are handling it within their own family. Between the counseling session/s and finding other families with the similar circumstances; I'm hopeful that we can find the best way to have this talk with our child.

    I wish you the best with your son. Thanks again.

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  • Axl2Axl2 member
    Hi so when I was kid I believe I was 7 or 8 my mom drops a bomb on me and says your dad isn’t actually your bio dad. She asked if I wanted to meet my bio dad I said no. I never really asked questions about him until he wanted to meet me when I was 14. I was better off not meeting him, he’s a disaster of a person. My step dad is my dad. I do wish my mom would have started the conversation earlier on but It never messed me up. 

    I think you should tell your child before someone else does he will be more mad at you finding out that way. Address to his age of course. There are adoption books for kids and adoption books on how to talk about it.

    If you do decide on telling him answer his questions. Tell him his mom placed him because she loves him. I think he will respect and love you more for telling him now then later.

    Once we are placed we are going to start day one talking about how our child is adopted. How we are blessed with this miracle. As the child ages we will add stuff to the conversation. 

    Good luck!
  • Thank you for sharing your story.
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