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Hearing it straight from the horses mouth -so to speak- is often the best way to hear it! With help from The Adoptables, here is a collection of tips for adoptive parents collected from children who have been adopted.

1. TREAT ALL CHILDREN IN THE HOUSEHOLD EQUALLY

  • Younger child may feel an older child gets more freedom
    • Explain your rational behind decisions. You don’t have to explain yourself as the adult, but explaining rational helps a child grow, develop, and understand.
  • Older child may feel pressured to always have to set the example
  • Different treatment for different personalities (equal but different)
  • Gender differences
  • Adopted parents birth children treated better than adopted children

2. ALWAYS LISTEN TO US AND OUR VIEWS

  • We may not always be sure when and if we can speak about adoption
  • Give us more opportunities to voice our opinions/concerns/worries
  • Try to see it from the child’s perspective

3. PREPARE US AND FIND WAYS TO TELL US THAT WE ARE ADOPTED

  • Make sure that the child and parent are on the same page
  • Tell us when we’re younger and elaborate as we grow up with age appropriate information
  • No big surprises!

4. BE PREPARED FOR OUR REACTION TO BIG NEWS RELATED TO US, OUR BIRTH PARENTS AND/OR OUR ADOPTION

  • Expect us to be angry/sad/confused when we hear certain news about our birth family
    • This does not mean that we don’t want to hear it. For example: birth parent having another child
  • Have tissues! And hugs.
  • We will worry about our medical history if you keep it from us

5. DON’T EXPECT US TO GROW UP PERFECT

  • Nobody is perfect
  • Accept that we may just get angry sometimes and it has nothing to do with us being adopted
  • Look after us as we are; do not try to mould us into someone we’re not
  • Expect challenging behavior
  • Give us space but keep us close

6. DO NOT COMPARE US TO OUR FRIENDS OR YOUR FRIENDS’ CHILDREN

  • Comparing us to other children causes stress and can lead to issues and problems with family
  • It doesn’t acknowledge our background and can make us feel like we’re not good enough
  • Being compared to someone/something makes us feel like we’re not understood
  • It’s not just parents – peers and teachers too

7. UNDERSTAND THAT SEPARATION AND DEATH CAN BE A TRIGGER FOR US

  • When a birth family member dies it affects the child more than you think and if not handled correctly can have a lasting impact
  • If you are separated from loved ones and they die you can feel very guilty that you didn’t spend time with them – there can be ways of marking it; photos, memories, etc.
  • Writing their name somewhere as permanent as possible
  • Reading the books and watching films you may have watched together

8. LOVE US NO MATTER WHAT

  • If we fall out with you make sure you still show us that you love us
  • We might worry that we will go back into care and you won’t want us
  • Telling us that you care but more so show us you care
  • Communicate!
  • Be there when we need you
  • Help us to find a safe place/person to turn to (have a good network)

9. BE OPEN AND UNDERSTANDING ABOUT BIRTH PARENTS AND BE AS POSITIVE AS POSSIBLE

  • When we get contact from birth parents, it can be awkward and hard for everyone
  • Understand that we will be curious, not everyone, but some of us are
  • It is better to be supportive rather than us looking on social media by ourselves
  • Be creative, find another way to possibly satisfy the need, but don’t push us away
  • Sharing information and knowledge about birth parents is important because people need to remember who we actually are and – like it or not they will always be part of us
  • Be aware that we will tune into your feelings about our birth parents

10. BE THERE THROUGHOUT OUR WHOLE LIFE AND NEVER LEAVE

  • Try and work on issues rather than give up
  • Do things to keep the connection
  • Explain things to us as much as possible
  • Be aware that if you do have to leave show you’re coming back; give reassurance and acknowledgment. Adopted child may still have major abandonment issues (example of dad going on away on business trips and not sure if he would come back)
  • Be aware that support can be found within the extended family
  • Be aware that no matter the age we may need a higher amount of reassurance than the average child

There are clear benefits of being an adopted child, but knowing where you came from is crucial. As adoptees understand the details of their story, make sense of their feelings and triggers as they relate to adoption, they can cultivate resilience and learn to respond rather than react – a skill that offers more freedom of choice in day to day actions and provides an overall sense of well-being!

For more information regarding your adoption journey, contact Adoption Choices of Texas at 855-304-4673 (HOPE)

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