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I nearly told dd that I was adopted today? Should I?

(46 Posts)
DrSpechemin Thu 24-Feb-11 20:36:56

At bedtime tonight dd was asking where I was born - told her the town and she said 'of course' because randomly it's where my mum lives now.

I was just about to tell her that my mum wasn't the person who gave birth to me - but stopped before telling her - dd is 6 - do you think she needs to know? not sure why I wanted to tell her? it is part of my identity and obviously my mum is still her grandparent.

Have any of you adoptees told your children that you're adopted?

I'm probably thinking about it a bit more at the moment as its my birthday v soon so more in my thoughts at the moment.

Would appreciate any input!

doricpatter Thu 24-Feb-11 20:40:14

My mum's adopted. We've always known, so it's never been an issue - I can't remember not knowing. Now I have my own kids I'm thinking about it more ... Perhaps time to talk to mum about it I guess. I would tell her, it's her family too.

PositiveAttitude Thu 24-Feb-11 20:45:02

I would say tell her now while she is young enough for it to just become part of you, iYSWIM.

We have an adopted daughter, I know its not the same.

duchesse Thu 24-Feb-11 20:48:23

Disclaimer: I have no experience of adoption either way.

I would think that 6 is a perfect age to find out if she didn't know already, especially if she's asking questions. I'd probably wait for the next round of questioning and then tell her if I were you.

DrSpechemin Thu 24-Feb-11 20:50:27

that's what I was thinking - I've always known that I was adopted so it is 'part of me'.

maybe next time we talk about families etc I'll tell her - she quite likes working out who are my parents/dh's parents/grandparents etc (both my parents remarried and she's got her head round my step parents so I'm sure she'd be able to grasp the concept of adoption

hellymelly Thu 24-Feb-11 20:51:33

Why not tell her? I think if things seem to have been "secret" then it gives them a weight they might not otherwise carry.Children are good at accepting things,she would find it interesting I would imagine,and after all you will have to tell her at some point.If you ever choose to find your birth parents then that would be something that would have an impact on her too,so the younger the better in my book.

CalamityKate Thu 24-Feb-11 20:52:10

I've always known I was adopted, DP has always known he was adopted and the kids knew we were from the first time it came up in conversation.

I don't get why it's a big deal?

walesblackbird Thu 24-Feb-11 21:38:02

I would explain now while she's still young enough to be able to take it in in bite sized pieces. Probably for now she'll just take it on board, think about it and come back and ask questions later.

My three children have always known they're adopted and are fascinated by whose tummy babies grow in. They find it peculiar when I explain that I grew in their grandmother's tummy - assuming that I would have grown in my birth mother's tummy - not realising that my mother is actually my birth mother and that not everyone has a birth mother as well as an adoptive mother.

Heifer Thu 24-Feb-11 22:20:20

I told my dd at 6, and tbh wish I hadn't.
I get so many question, at inappropriate times tbh. I am happy to talk about it, but when I chose to, not having it thrust on me.

She said some things that really upset me, like "Do I have another Nanna then", do I have another grandad etc etc.

I'm afraid I snapped at her and said NO, Nanna was my mum etc and that I don't have another mum and dad....

I didn't think it through properly before I told her, it came out of a similar conversation as yours, asking about my birth etc..

I hadn't realised it would effect her, I hadn't thought of how she would feel.

I remember someone asking me last year if I would ever try to trace down my biological family and I said no, not interested. They said I was being selfish as I was denying my DD of learning about her history... I was shocked and am still trying to comes to terms with that..

My problem is that I am not looking for anything. I had the best childhood, the best family life I could ever had had, I am not missing anything. I am thankfull I was adopted. Unfortunately both my mum and dad have now passed away.

But for DD it's different. She hasn't got any grandparents and is an only child...

Anyway sorry went way off track..

I would wait a few years until she has left to be sensitive to your feeling.. I know at 6 my DD wasn't capable of that.

To be fair she is now 7 and is much better.

walesblackbird Thu 24-Feb-11 22:33:50

But heifer, her questions were completely normal and reasonable for a 6 year old. At that age they don't fully understand (I have a 6 year old) and the only way they can make sense of what you've told them is to question.

I get all sorts from my three and I answer all their questions openly and honestly. For mine, as adopted children, they have to know that I will always be truthful - no matter how difficult the questions are.

Heifer Thu 24-Feb-11 22:39:39

WalesBB - I understand that. She asked some very sensible question. but I hadn't realised at the time that it would affect her. I am not used to someone ask me questions so directly.

I saw it as MY issue.. I had dealt with it, I am happy with it, I was happy with the decision that I made not to trace, I hadn't thought out that she may make me feel different..

That's what I mean by wishing I had waited, or I guess until I had realised it would effect her also.

I had always know I was adopted so my parents must had told me very young.

space2010 Thu 24-Feb-11 22:53:02

I would say. I wouldn't sit your daughter down and have a long chat about it but I would be totally honest when asked. You have nothing to hide and I would suggest that she is the right age. If you are glad you were told yourself of your adoption then I think perhaps that is the answer?

If you are open about it it will not be such a 'mystery' when she is older.

Sam x

louvert Thu 24-Feb-11 23:42:20

My Mum was adopted. My Dad told me when I was about nine. I was old enough to know broadly what it meant. I was quite a dreamy, thoughtful child and found it very hard that I was told and then just sort of expected to process it for myself - I would definitely have liked some of my questions to be answered, but it was never discussed again. I'm not sure about telling a six year old and guess it depends on how many puzzlements you'd feel able to answer and whether your dc would be able to be sensitive to your own feelings.

DrSpechemin Fri 25-Feb-11 11:46:19

Thank you Heifer and everyone else - I think I'll think about it for a bit longer.

I was thinking how I'd tell her and I don't want her to worry that one day she'd have a different mummy.

It's so hard to put it into words. How do you say that some mummy's can't look after their children so other mummy's get the chance to love and look after them?

I always give her honest answers to difficult questions - ie she knows the facts of life etc.

Maryz Fri 25-Feb-11 12:49:11

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

walesblackbird Fri 25-Feb-11 15:38:19

I think the younger your child is when you start telling him or her things the easier they will find it. It just becomes a natural, normal part of life and not something odd or unusual.

Stick to the facts and drip feed the information on a age appropriate basis.

My youngest is just 5 and she knows that babies grow in tummies. She knows that she didn't grow in mine. She knows the name of her birth mother and now and again she will mention her bm by name. She has no memories as she was removed at birth - her only memories really are what I've told her.

But for my three it's just one small part of who they are. They're adopted yes, but that doesn't make them who or what they are. There's so much more to them than that.

I've heard it recommended that you practice to yourself first before talking about adoption. I found it quite a hard word to say - it's not something that crops up in every day conversation so that makes it difficult to start chatting about it.

Rehearse before what you're going to say and how you're going to say it - then you'll be more confident about talking about it.

KristinaM Fri 25-Feb-11 23:28:41

my children are 5,6 and 10 and they all know I was adopted. only the 6yo asks about it much, more because its his personality. all his questions are fine but some of the answers are quite hard , but i guess he has to know sometime and there isnt an easy time to tell them.

IMO the only alternatives I have are to lie to him now and tell the truth later, which would be worse. or tell him its not his business or that i'll tell him when he's older. he's the kind of child who would just obsess about it if i did that, and then it would become a big issue. and its not really, its about things that happened last century to people he hardly knows.

some of the details i have not told the children, because they are not really their information. but the basic facts are their information to know ie who their biological grandparenst are etc

DrSpechemin Mon 28-Feb-11 19:51:04

right - grabbed an opportunity and told her today - she was asking if I wanted to have a girl and wasn't it lucky that she was a girl - then she wondered whether my mum wanted to have a girl - so I said 'well that's quite interesting because I didn't grow in my mum's tummy - i grew in someone elses and they weren't able to look after me so luckily my mum wanted to look after me'.

She couldn't work out when I was with a different mummy as she's seen lots of family pictures of me growing up so I just said that my mum had got me when I was just coming out of hospital.

She seemed to grasp it all. She asked what my biological parents names were and I just said that i didn't know (that's a white lie - I do know my bm's name but I only have very basic info about my birth circumstances and felt that at this stage she didn't need to know) - I'm sure she'll have a few over the next few weeks as she digests it all.

KristinaM Mon 28-Feb-11 20:16:58

How do you feel now, having told her? was it how you expected?

i think you need to be prepared for her asking more questions. my guess is that she will ask why you don't know their names, do you have any photos of them, do you have sibling etc. and she may ask why they didn't keep / want you

it can be a bit distressing for children to hear that some parenst dont want their children, they can worry that you will do this to them. if you do know the reason, it might be a good idea to tell her, in an age appropriate way

if you don't know, you might like to tell her some of the reasons BPs don't keep their children

it sounds like this is quite hard for you and bringing up a lot of feelings that you didnt know you had.........

DrSpechemin Mon 28-Feb-11 20:48:57

yes - feel fine - she gave me a huge hug after I told her and said she loved me - so I think she really understood the seriousness of it. I said that my mum will always be my mum as she was the one who had brought me up and helped me be the person I am today.

will be prepared for questions - dd is very open to different family set ups - we have gay friends with children, single friends with children etc. I think she will understand when I talk about it more with her if she wants to know reasons.

it is hard - for me being adopted is v hard emotionally - I guess the feeling of abandonment is so strong even though it is kept so deeply buried for most of the time. Subconsciously it is always there.

KristinaM Mon 28-Feb-11 21:17:28

yes, i think lots of adoptees struggle with this feeling of abandonment, I know i do sad

i had a pretty rubbish adoptive family but i know that even those who had the best family anyone could wish for still find it hard. though i suspect its more difficult to " admit" it to yourself if you had a great upbringing, you must feel like you are being disloyal to your parents in some way

HarrietTheSpook Fri 04-Mar-11 13:29:17

I haven't told my daughters yet. One is six. DD1 is close with my mother, but we live abroad from my parents. And I am worried about this driving a wedge between them - I would never never want her to start thinking that DH's parents are her 'real grandparents' (they live in the UK) and mine are not. If we were living near my parents in the US this would be less of a concern for me, as the DDs would have many opportunities to cement their relationship with my parents which they don't have so much now.

One question from DD1 about it if she knew, even innocently, would drive my mother absolutely round the bend. I know it's a not a reason not to tell my DD, but my mom is finding it hard having me so far away (her mom just died) and that she doesn't get to see her grandaughters very often.

I don't know what the solution is really. So many factors to consider. I do worry she might find out inadvertently over time (the people closest to me know about it but don't bring it up unless I do.)

Strictly Thu 10-Mar-11 15:21:52

I found out my Mother was adopted at 25. It was a truly horrible shock and has really really damaged my relationship with her. I have also distanced myself from my 'Grandparents' as I'm still very angry at it all being kept secret.

The earlier they know the easier it is to accept IMO.

HarrietTheSpook Thu 10-Mar-11 21:38:29

I guess you'll realise at some point all the things that would have been weighing on her mind to tell or not tell, all the things and people's feelings she had to consider (usually the adoptee's are the bottom of the list BTW), and over time become more understanding about it, right? She doesn't need any more people making her feel guilty. Your poor mom.

hester Thu 10-Mar-11 21:54:44

Sorry to hear that, Strictly. What caused the damage, do you think? Was it your anger at having been deceived, or something else?

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