Analogies That Help Kids Understand How Adoptive Families are “Real” Families

Until one becomes immersed in the culture of adoption, appropriate adoption language does not always come naturally. This is especially true for children, although we adults are known to make a few slips ourselves. Using the word “place” rather than “give up” is a prime example. But today we’re going to talk about “real.” Usually for adults all it takes is a moment of education to learn that all parents are real—adoptive and biological. But children might not so easily understand the concept. Following are a few analogies that might help children better understand why using the word “real” when referring to birth families might not be appropriate:

Think about the things your child plays with and those things your child most related to. Animals, toys, and movies work as well as those items listed above. Remember to look for teaching opportunities in everyday life. You may not have to create the teaching opportunity as listed in the analogies above, but may be able to capture a moment and have the same effect.  Remember, also, to reinforce what your child has learned about “real” on a regular basis after the original learning has taken place. An added benefit is that children love to share what they learn. You can be sure your child will talk with their friends about “real,” and before we know it, even those who may never be touched by adoption will understand the true meaning!