Becoming a new parent through adoption is exciting, but it also comes with a lot of new responsibilities. Like keeping your child safe, providing for their future, and building them up into productive members of society. But successfully telling your child their story is a big part of those new responsibilities.
Sharing this story with others will probably happen before your child is even home. And with embryo adoption, you may have more time to share the story before your baby starts to feel “real.” But, as your child grows, you must change the story from your family building story to the child’s life story. Experts agree that being open with your child about their adoption story is better for your child’s future development.
The story, after all, is how their life began.
How do you tell your child’s story? How do you support them as they navigate their lives? Here are four ways you can support your child’s adoption story:
1. Learn to share the story as you parent in verbal and non-verbal ways.
The story will not be told just one time. Your child will hear it over and over as they grow, through your words and through your body language. We must be aware of our attitudes about the story coming through, especially via body language. If you have faced infertility (which led to adoption) and have unresolved grief, they will notice this coming out of the story. You must watch what attitudes are being presented when the story is being told.
Your child’s feelings about their story will also fluctuate as they grow and will not always be straight forward. You need to be prepared for them to change their minds about who, what, and how the story is shared. This can be expected during the middle school years, when fitting in and being “normal” becomes high priority.
2. It’s complicated, so educate yourself!
An adoption story has two sides, and you will need to understand those sides. One side of the story is a beautiful tale about family, but the other side of the story is
It may take you time to understand your feelings and the emotions that adopted children have. Encouraging them to ask questions! And helping them seek answers can help both of you understand the complexities of adoption and your emotions.
3. Learn to inventory your personal beliefs.
Attitudes. Boundaries. Unresolved grief. These things will impact what you share, how you share it, and
Sometimes, others don’t quite understand that there are boundaries when asking questions about your child’s adoption. Especially for embryo adoption. Your child comes first, so communicating what should and should not be said or done helps set expectations for those around you. Teaching your child when to recognize when boundaries are being crossed is also important. Then they can better determine what an appropriate question is and what questions are going too far. You can help them come up with an appropriate response to these situations.
The ultimate goal of sharing and celebrating your child’s adoption story is a well-adjusted family! While you may make some mistakes along the way, being thoughtful about how you share the story will protect them and their hearts in the long run. To learn more about how to support your child’s adoption story, watch our webinar. To learn more about embryo adoption and donation, visit EmbryoAdoption.org.