What Every Child Should Know About Their Birth Family – Questions To Ask Birth Parents

When a child is placed for adoption, there is a chance that a lot of questions will go unanswered because they are never asked. A child’s adoptive family is indeed, in fact, their family. However, there are some things that the child should know about their birth family to understand their genetics and culture.

I do believe it is important that a child have answers to the same general questions they would ask their parents, such as:

I think questions like this are important so the child has the opportunity to really get to know their birth parents. But those are just the surface questions. I also think it’s important for the child to ask about other birth family members and how everyone grew up so they can learn about their history.

Learning personal history can help a child understand tendencies they may have, why their hair is a certain way, why their body is shaped the way it is, etc. It’s not just about the knowledge; it’s also about recognizing those traits and tendencies within themselves.

But again, that’s not all.

Although those are probably some of the most important bits of information they should ask about, I would say there is another kind of question that can be equally as important: medical questions. Now, some of this information may already be in a child’s files at the doctor’s office and adoption agency, but it can be a minimal and only stretch to one generation. They should also consider asking:

I can think of almost no other questions that would have such a profound effect on a child. Their health is of the utmost importance, so it’s something the child and their parents should be aware of. Having that information could just be information they put on doctor’s forms when they go in for a checkup, or it could one day save their life. It not always possible to get that information, but that’s why the child should ask. The more they know, the better.

The last grouping of questions I can think of is for the child’s peace of mind. They’re not easy questions, and at times can be met with very strong emotions on both sides, but they can be meaningful to the child.

I personally dread the day my son asks me these questions, but should he ever want to know, I will tell him. Not all questions are easy, but if a child knows to ask, it must be important to them.

I do always recommend, with all answers people give children, that they are made age-appropriate to ensure the child understands and isn’t overwhelmed. You can tell the truth without telling everything. A child doesn’t need to know that their birth mother got raped and became pregnant. A child doesn’t need to know what drugs the parents were doing when they were conceived. A child doesn’t need to know the gruesome details at a young age, and they might not need to know later either. Just try to be honest and loving.

To the birth parents, please also understand that the answers you give can still be upsetting. Regardless of how kindly you respond or how many details you leave out, it might still be hard for them to hear. If they get angry, or sad, or distant, or silent, please let them feel whatever it is they’re feeling, and give comfort when appropriate. Adoption isn’t just hard on the birth parents; it’s hard on everyone. Give them space and time they need. So long as you did your best, that’s all they can ever ask of you.



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