10 – Encourage your adopted child to ask any and all questions they have.
9 – “I don’t know” is a perfectly acceptable answer.
8 – Answer questions honestly or to the best of your ability.
7 – Remember what attracted you to them and share their best qualities.
6 – Explain why you don’t have contact with them or why they don’t have contact with the adopted child (if you know).
5 – Think about how you would want someone else to answer for you, if you were the one without contact.
4 – Ask clarifying questions to learn and understand what the child is really wanting to know.
3 – Create a positive view point, regardless of circumstances.
2 – Acknowledge and validate their feelings and emotions.
1 – Reassure your child of the love you, and everyone involved, has for them.
Have you ever wondered how you should be answering your child’s questions about adoption? We sure have! And the questions have evolved and changed in our home over the years, creating new things to think about. These questions can be difficult to answer because the truth is we all have unanswered questions. Why would they leave us? Why would they not want to have contact with us? Why would they not be safe? Why don’t they want to know who we are? Don’t they love me? Regardless as to how we feel, it is in the best interest of our children to answer these questions with HONEST LOVE. (Thank you Terra Cooper, Adoption.com author, for this beautiful term!)
To me, this means to be honest and truthful in your words while being loving and kind at the same time. Think about that for a minute. When you answer questions from your adopted child, are you answering honestly and lovingly about yourself and others? I recall a conversation years ago when Tysen’s birth father was in jail (admittedly, I had some concerns about having contact with him) in which his birth mother spoke only kindly and lovingly about him. I was impressed with her ability to create a positive vantage point in which to view him and his choices.
I appreciated the lesson to always strive to speak favorably of others, particularly when talking to our children about birth parents we don’t have contact with. We won’t always have the answers our children are looking for. It is okay to say, “I don’t know.” Or, if there is a way to make contact (that is safe and appropriate), perhaps you can ask this question directly to the birth parent. Often, we need to take the time to investigate a little further and discover what our children are really asking about.
Sometimes, there are no acceptable human answers. In this case, maybe only spiritual answers can help offer direction and guidance. Neil L. Anderson says, “Spiritual questions deserve spiritual answers from God.” You may (like me) find times in which pondering and praying is the only way to know what your child needs to hear. The most important thing to remember is that everyone wants to feel loved. Reassure your adopted children of your love for them! Not only of your love, but of the love given by all those they have met—or haven’t met—in their birth families, because this love extends well beyond one person! Remind your children as often as possible that they truly are loved by many people. Remind them that LOVE is what brought them into the world, and LOVE is what brought them to where they are now.