Lighthouse Thoughts

March 9, 2017

Inconspicuous Families

When parents adopt a child of the same race, they retain a certain degree of anonymity. Unlike transracial adoptive families who become conspicuous families, these adoptive families do not share the same sense of urgency in addressing issues related to race and adoption. Being an inconspicuous family doesn’t mean that adoption issues are not important. It simply means that parents, have more choices about when and how to talk to their children about adoption.

Some parents may avoid or postpone telling their child that they are adopted. They may be uncomfortable addressing some of the core issues of adoption; grief, loss, identity. Parents may not recognize the child’s need for culture and heritage. They may be uncomfortable sharing the circumstances that lead to adoption.

There’s nothing worse than caring around a family secret for many years, and then having to tell the truth. Worse yet, what if another family member tells the child, that they are adopted before you do? Both can leave a child/ teen with a general feeling of mistrust. It may negatively might impact the parent-child relationship.

Adoptive parents will need to develop a plan for how to talk to their children about adoption. They’ll have to decide, when the time is right. How much info to share, and with whom. Parents will need to follow their child’s lead, and utilize the resources that are available.

The easiest way to address adoption is to start talking about it from the beginning. Children’s books like Tell Me Again About the Night I was Born is a great introduction for preschoolers. Preschoolers know that babies grow in tummies, and they will ask you about it. When they do, that opens the door for an age appropriate discussion of the adoption. Adoption becomes a natural/ normal part of who they are.

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