help with adoption

Talking To Children About Adoption – How To Explain Adoption At Birth To My 8 Year Old

I am seeking advice. When I was 20 I gave my daughter up for adoption at birth; she will be 16 this year. Since then I have completed college, married and had a son, who is 8. I have always been honest with my son about being a birth mom and the adoption.

My son recently started telling his friends and teachers that he has a sister. This is awkward for me because not many people know about the adoption and people keep asking my husband and me if we have another kid. My husband is worried about our son and wants me to talk to him, which I have in the past. This whole thing is hard and emotional for me. I’ve asked my son to stop telling people about the adoption but he won’t. How do I bridge these two things; my son’s need to understand this and my need for privacy? I am not mad at my son. I am just frustrated and hurt and do not want my relationship with my son to be damaged. Please help! You can feel free to contact me in whatever form is easiest for you.  – A.


Hi A,

I can understand why this would be so challenging.  I have a couple of suggestions which I hope you’ll find helpful.

Adoption at birth and privacy concerns

First, if you haven’t already, talk with your son about why this information is private and have a conversation about respecting privacy.  I also think it’s really important that your son understand that your adoption story isn’t private because it’s a shameful secret, instead, it’s private because it involves so many complicated feelings.

One message you could send is that a private adoption involves many people, not just himself, and that he needs to respect everyone’s privacy.  Remind him that he needs to think about what your daughter wants, what her adoptive parents want, and what you and your husband want.  You might explain that sharing this information with others is like giving a gift, and that he needs to think carefully about who he wants to share it with.  You might ask him to talk with you first before he shares it again with a friend or teacher

Your son’s pediatrician might be able to help

My second suggestion is that you talk with his pediatrician about this.  She might know of a counselor who can help with the respecting privacy conversation.   This could be really helpful to him to talk about adoption as well and what it means to him to have a half sibling.

I hope this is helpful.  Please let me know what you decide to do and let me know how it goes.  I’ll be thinking about you and sending good thoughts for a healthy and productive conversation with your son!

All my best,


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