In recent years, adoption has become less of a taboo subject and more something to be celebrated. However, some adoptive parents still believe that it’s not a good idea to tell their child that they’re adopted. This is all wrong – here are three reasons why.
1. It is their right to know.
Being adopted is an important part of an adoptee’s identity. It is not all that they are, but it is still a vital piece of information that should not be withheld from them. They have the right to search for their birth parents – or not. They have the right to grieve their adoption – or not. They deserve to know who they are and process that however they need to.
2. Keeping secrets will hurt your relationship with your child.
If you don’t tell your child that they’re adopted and they find out on their own, chances are your relationship with them will never be the same. Many adoptees who found out they were adopted as adults feel betrayed and lied to by their adoptive parents. Talking to your child about adoption from an early age will help them trust you and feel that they can come to you with their feelings about adoption. Keeping their story a secret from them will only hurt them (and your relationship) in the long run.
3. Hiding their story creates shame.
Keeping adoption a family secret feeds into the idea that there is something wrong with adoption. Being adopted is just a fact of life. It has no reflection on the worth of the adoptee – or the parents. Some adoptive parents don’t tell their child in order to “protect them” – protect them from what? Feeling abandoned or unwanted? If you don’t tell your child that they’re adopted, you are cementing the idea that they were unwanted by their birth parents, which in most cases is simply untrue.
The best way to protect your child from common issues associated with adoption is to normalize it. Talk to your child about adoption from day one. Make sure they know that they can come to you with questions and concerns about their story. Always be honest with them, so they can feel comfortable being honest with you.
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