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lots of questions!

(14 Posts)
twinmummy24 Thu 09-Jun-11 13:22:12

hey all just thought i would ask for you input, my little ones are 4.5 year old now and at the stage where they are asking lots of questions about their adoption (placed at 11months) was just wondering what other peoples experiences were of this, how did you pitch your answers so that they could start to understand without confusing them - not actually sure this is possible grin
i have spoken to local agency who are going to send me some info on life story work.

Lilka Thu 09-Jun-11 15:07:47

I think at this age they will be happy with short answers, they are only likely to get confused if they are given too much information at once..try to drip feed stuff slowly, e.g. right now, if they ask 'why was I adopted?' you might say, 'because X couldn't look after you'. Then as they get older, or if they start needing more information, you can expand on that, and explain why 'because X didn't feed you' for instance

I don't actually remember DS being at all confused about it. One thing I do with him as well is tell the story of how he came to live with me and his sisters. He likes it at bedtime, it's his story, and again, short and simple does the trick! I don't go into any great detail, although he'll need more soon (he's 6), and I focus on my end and what I was doing, and on family day (day I met him), and he loves hearing about that!

Basically, now probably isn't the stage they want anything long winded, just answer the direct question they give you, and move on. Rather than sitting them down for a talk, just answer as they ask and keep an open dialogue going. Drip feed their story bit by bit, and I doubt they'll get very confused. In fact, DS just took it as it came, and I think he thought every child in the world gets adopted, as he was very surprised when he found out pregnant teacher was going to raise her own baby grin

KristinaM Fri 10-Jun-11 07:45:06

i agree with lilka, this is the ideal age to start talking to them about it

they need to grow up with their story, rather than it being dumped on them as teenagers IYKWIM

hifi Fri 10-Jun-11 17:22:08

my dd is 6 and our socialworker suggested i started off with"it wasnt safe for you to stay with her", then add on as she gets older.

tigerlillyd02 Mon 25-Jul-11 02:08:48

I will at some point be in the same boat! When did you first tell them they were adopted. How did you explain that they had another mummy?
My lo is 20 months now, and wouldn't grasp it at all if I tried to tell him. But, I do wonder when and how to give him the basics.

Maryz Mon 25-Jul-11 13:18:37

We used to tell them the story long before they could understand (so from the time they were tiny babies). In fact, when we started I found it a bit awkward, so I'm glad they can't remember the ealy versions blush.

It began "once upon a time there were a mummy and a daddy who were very sad (later add, their names were X and Y). And why were they sad? Oh, yes, it was because they didn't have a baby. So they went to (insert name of whoever) and said, we are very sad because we don't have a baby, do you know any babies who might like a mummy and daddy. And she said, well now, let me see, I think I know a baby who might fit very well into your family, I'll just have a look.................."

We used to add to it every time, and as they got older they would add to it themselves, and fill in the gaps with what they were wearing, what Granny said and so on. For dd it started "once upon a time there was a little family, a mummy called X, a daddy called Y and a little boy called Z. One day they thought what would make this family even better, so they went to see......"

It became a sort of family story that we would tell at odd times as a bedtime extra (when they were trying to postpone lights out), and we just made sure we told it often enough that the facts stuck.

So mine never remember a time that they didn't know the story, or know that they were adopted.

Maryz Mon 25-Jul-11 13:20:23

Sorry, that was more at tigerlilly, and not much use to twinmummy blush. I think it is very important to answer factually, and simply. Don't avoid questions, but don't elaborate unless they want you to.

twinmummy24 Mon 25-Jul-11 13:37:37

just like mary we started to talk about adoption when the girls were still tiny and they have regular contact with their foster parents, they are absolutely fab people who will be able to give them so much info as the girls get older as they met birth parents and we have not.

the questions really started last october ( girls were nealy 4 ) when one of my friends was obviously pregnant and then had her little boy, the girls asked did i come from your tummy mummy so i just said, no, mummy's tummy is broken and cant have babies you grew in someone elses tummy.
the girls were happy with this and didn't ask anything else until the beginning of this year when their aunt announced she was pregnant and they started to ask who's tummy they came from.

i explained that they came from X's tummy but that she was poorly and not able to look after them, she might forget to feed them, give them cuddles or take them to school so they needed a new mummy and daddy and that me and daddy were going to be their forever mummy and dadddy, we have also started to get questions about siblings which is tricky as we are able to have contact with some but not others! wierdly enough no questions at all about birth dad not sure they have made the connection yet.

the girls seem really fixated with the turn forever mummy and daddy and get loads of comfort from us using it in everyday conversation, they are also fab at asking questions and making comments in really inapproriate situations and with no warning, my youngest announced mummy i really love X and wish i lived with her as i was driving around a round about, i nearly crashed the car grin.

Maryz Mon 25-Jul-11 13:55:09

Questions about birth fathers don't seem to come until they get to the age where they equate sex with babies, and realised all of a sudden that there is male input grin. And even then, most adopted children ime show little interest in birth fathers until they are teenagers for some reason.

I think most adopted children go through a phase when they talk a lot about it (usually when, like you, someone close has got pregnant or had a baby). And then they move on to something else. I remember we had an abortion referendum here when ds was about 8, which opened a huge can of worms for him, and he got very angry about pregnancy, abortion, adoption and a variety of issues which all got confused in his mind (mostly to do with people having babies they didn't want hmm).

And yes, all children specialise in asking questions at exactly the wrong moments grin. The important thing is that if you say "we'll talk about that when we get home" that you actually do, so they don't think you are trying to stifle discussion.

Yourefired Mon 25-Jul-11 16:56:19

I'm adopted, now in my forties, and fondly remember my parents reading 'mr fair-weather and his family' to me. It's a simple story of adoption and doesn't deal with the more complicated questions which come later at pre-teen age in my case. But it does give a good 'in' for both parents and young children to discuss these issues. The main theme of the book is that the child completes the family - lovely. May be this could be a starting point?

tigerlillyd02 Mon 25-Jul-11 21:57:08

Useful advice there, thank you! I love the idea about bedtime stories Maryz and think I might start doing something similar. He does see his biological mother 6 times a year, although it's likely that's going to stop very soon. He just knows her by her first name though and has no idea that she's his mum! He's only 20 months but I want him to grow up knowing, and not have "that talk" specifically as I think it seems like more of a big deal then. I have already said to him "X is your tummy mummy as you grew in her tummy before mummy had you". He hasn't a clue what I'm on about but you've reassured me that this is probably the best thing to do.
I have lots of pictures etc of both parents and know the background well, luckily. I have thought of making a book with the pictures in and a more simple version of the story... ??

KristinaM Tue 26-Jul-11 07:50:43

Thats funny,yourfired, as i had that book read to me too!! Perosnally i think its a terrible book, as it deals with adoption purely fro the point of view of the adoptive father anx makes everyone else sound like his posession and the child as a commodity. Very much of its times though. And its good that you have happynmemories of it

It seems to be that there are several adoption stories, nt just one. There is teh journey to adoption of the a parenst, much like the one maryz tells. The is a person /couple who want to parent /add to their family and this is the way they chose to do it

Thne there is the childs story, which begins in a different place, time and circumstances. And that of the birth parenst and thsir families.
All these stories are legitimate and one persons isnt more valid that the others.i think that over thime and at an appripate age, we need to allow our children to recognise everyones story, especially thsir own, and not insist that ours ( as a parenst) is the only or correct one

emilykettle Thu 04-Aug-11 19:49:31

From my experience, keep it short and sweet. My parents (mum, really) drip-fed me information from a really early age and it worked. She started off originally by reading me a book about adoption and then used the analogy of "you know how we love the dog? you know how it didn't come from mummy's tummy?", which sounds stupid but it was good because it made me realise that you can love people who aren't related and it's all the same feeling.

Anecdotal stories are also great because while everyone else is sharing baby stories etc I got to share "I was sick on my Dad's favourite jumper" or something similar and meant I wasn't left out.

One piece of advice - I always found it difficult (and still do) raising the subject of adoption with my parents because they've always been open about how they struggled conceiving and how much they really wanted a baby. Obviously, I appreciate their honesty but it does make me feel as though I can't ask them because I don't want to remind them of the heartbreak they went through. I'm sure they didn't intentionally want this to happen (and are probably waiting for my questions!) but it would be nice to feel as though it's a subject that can be openly talked about.

Hope that helps!

Kayano Fri 12-Aug-11 21:44:14

My mum had a personalised book made that we could read together. I still have it. It Is lovely.... Although when it arrived the place had replaced my name with 'thomas' lol so it has my mums hand writing all through it replacing it with my name ! I still lie it

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