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Do i tell my children i am adopted?

(84 Posts)
Sam1973 Tue 27-Sep-11 23:31:40

Does anyone think it is necessary for me to tell my children I was adopted? They are 8 and 4 which is prob a little young any way. I cant decide if they need to know or not.....

fudgesmummy Wed 28-Sep-11 17:57:30

I am adopted and told my dcs when they were 5 and 8.

I hadn't really thought about it until my ds was watching gmtv and Mr Motivator (shows how long ago it was!!!) was talking about tracing his birth mother. My ds (the 8 yr old) turned to me and said "that's silly- no one would give their baby away would they?" I said actually....!!

his first question? maybe Mr Motivators mum is your mum? (unlikely darling as we're very different colours!)

his second question? has any one told grandma? (my adopted mum!!!!)

they both took it very much in their stride and we only had 1 incident with my very stroppy dd telling my mum she couldn't tell her what to do as she wasn't her real grandma. my mums reply was i've got a piece of paper that says your mum is my daughter so that makes you my granddaughter so you will do what you are jolly well told!

To answer you original question op, yes I think you should tell them-no question

harrietthespook Wed 28-Sep-11 18:09:15

My mother would lose it if one my DDs did that. Get back on the plane to America and brood about it to no end. We would never hear the end of it.

fudgesmummy Wed 28-Sep-11 18:14:16

harrietthespook-actualy my mum and dd are very much a match for each other!!!

coincidently my dds name is Harriet!!! grin

harrietthespook Wed 28-Sep-11 18:19:14

Harriet's a good name. Mine's not Harriet though - moniker is after the book Harriet the Spy. But I guess that is a topic for another (current) thread!!

Kewcumber Wed 28-Sep-11 19:35:00

When you all (those of you who were adopted) met your now DH's - did you tell them Evetnaully that you were adopted? If so, why? Because they don't really need to know.

It isn't really about needing to know is it? Its still relatively unusual to have been adopted and if I discovered that my mother had been adopted, I think I would truly have felt she was keeping it from me and would be very hurt by that.

It shouldn;t be something that is kept as a secret - its nothing shameful. Why would you not tell tehm in a natural way when the subject comes up eg when they meet someone who is pregnant.

Of course it is private but it should not be a secret and making a conscious decision not to tell them definitely (IMO) puts it in the "secret" territory.

fudgesmummy Wed 28-Sep-11 19:50:20

kewcumber-I don't"remember " telling" my dh that I'm adopted-but it was 27 years ago lol!! I've never been shy of telling people-i'm a very ordinary ,boring , unexciting person and I guess its quite nice having something that sets me apart from other people IYKWIM

ThatsNotMyBabyBelly Wed 28-Sep-11 19:55:07

I always knew my mum was adopted. She found out by accident when she was 8, and that her auntie was really her mum and her adopive mum was really her great aunt.

She always told me, very tongue in cheek, that she had been chosen but she just got stuck with us smile

I think the sooner you tell them the better, it will never be an issue then.

exoticfruits Wed 28-Sep-11 20:04:28

I would tell them from the very start-much easier if 'they have always known'.

Bubbaluv Thu 29-Sep-11 06:36:03

I agree with Kewc,
not telling is a lie of ommission which may not seem a big deal now, but it's the sort of thing a teenager can turn into outright war. You can justify not telling in all sorts of ways I'm sure, but if I now found out that my Mum was adopted and she had never told me I would feel hurt (at her lack of trust in me) and betrayed.

harrietthespook Thu 29-Sep-11 10:17:29

Here's the thing: There seem to be so many 'stakeholders' in my adoption who seem to feel that their feelings come first. There is always going to be someone who was pissed I didn't tell them at all, or tell them earlier, and another person who feels the same way because I did tell, or told at the wrong time. So, now I just feel okay about doing what's right for me in this situation.

GooseyLoosey Thu 29-Sep-11 12:02:17

kewcumber, I agree completely. My friend felt betrayed by her father for not telling her he was adopted. She felt he had not been honest with her. It took a while for her to get over it.

My children were 5 and 7 and we had been looking for an opportunity to just "slip it in" to coverersation for about 6 months before one came up. They were watching "Sunny Patch" which is about a spider family who seem to have children of every insect type. The dcs asked how that could be the case and I said "they must be adopted - just like daddy" (dh and I had agreed our strategy in advance should the opportunity arise).

The first question from ds (then 7) was who is daddy's mummy then - we were absolutely clear that it was the granny we knew and that daddy had no idea who had given birth to him. Granny was his mum and thir grandmother and there was nothing more to it.

sandyballs Thu 29-Sep-11 12:14:22

I'm adopted and I told my twin DD's when they were very small, probably 4 years old, it all seemed to come up very naturally. They were chatting to each other about daddy coming out of Nana J's tummy and mummy coming out of Nana T's tummy and I agreed then suddenly thought, no that isn't the case and briefly told them that my real mummy was very young and had no money and decided to let someone else bring me up so Nana T and Grandad P adopted me, as they weren't able to have babies of their own. They just took in their stride, no big deal at all.

My girls are 10 now and over the years one of them in particular has mentioned it, asked if I will trace my real mum, asked if there were twins in my real family, various things. I can't imagine them not knowing, it wouldn't be right.

My adopted brother didn't tell his boys until they were almost teens and they were upset that they weren't told earlier. He only told them then because my girls knew and I said to him they were likely to mention it one day and it would be a shock to his boys.

sandyballs Thu 29-Sep-11 12:16:29

Only one aspect of my adoption upsets my girls and that is the fact that I spent my first Christmas in a children's home, it doesn't bother me at all but it really upsets them to think of me as a baby, having my first christmas without a loving home and mummy and daddy, bless them.

hanahsaunt Thu 29-Sep-11 12:17:33

Both my grandmothers were adopted. My mum's mum only told my mum when she (my granny) was in her mid 80s as she saw it as something terribly shameful. My mum was really sad that her mum hadn't confided in her sooner - not because she has any desire to meet biological relatives (quite the contrary and was very, very close to my granny's sister) but because it was a part of her mum's story.

My mum told me a few years later and by the time I started on family tree stuff my granny had passed away and there was no opportunity to tell her that she wasn't the runt, the child too many to feed etc as had been her perception (she felt very stigmatised at being adopted) but she was adopted because she was orphaned at 2 and all the children were shared out to other families.

So, essentially, why wouldn't you tell them? It is a part of who you are.

bangcrash Thu 29-Sep-11 13:00:24

I told mine early having read about someone who found out later and reacted badly. It comes up fairly often when talking about family history, resemblances, pregnancies etc. I would feel like I couldn't be open.

My children know my birth family too so we talk through wheo met who when and how we all relate to each other.

Harriet your mum sounds difficult.

harrietthespook Thu 29-Sep-11 13:44:01

She's become very sensitive about it in the last few years, I don't really know why. I have tried to ask her about but I get a gobblygook answer back. Nothing that makes any sense. I brought it up as recently as August.

I have traced my birth family and at some point I need to have this conversation with her too. She needs to know that, even though I am not planning to contact them at the present time. But this couldn't be a worse time for her.

I get really tired of managing people's feeling about it to be honest and taking on the worry of whether the timing will be right for THEM. Part of me not telling the DCs at this point in time is I just don't want another set of people with expectations. I will tell them when I'm ready and be honest with them about why I couldn't say anything sooner.

bangcrash Thu 29-Sep-11 14:59:11

It's a shame you can't get her to talk about it properly, think it was often hard for older generations. Mine had some funny ideas and fears.

Hopefully when and if you tell your children they will just take it In their stride.

harrietthespook Thu 29-Sep-11 15:22:18

If I saw her face to face more frequently I'm sure it would be more manageable. It's just that we are face to face less than half a dozen times per year, and often in fraught situations.

OP: I do tend to agree that the earlier you can tell your children the better, it shouldn't be a secret of course, but I would also argue that you should do it at a time when you feel most able to face questions, etc. It should not be driven primarily by other people's expectations and needs

harrietthespook Thu 29-Sep-11 15:28:55

I sound like such a twat on this thread. seriously apologies, guys. I should just pay for some therapy or something.

sweetheart Thu 29-Sep-11 15:34:09

My dad is adopted and didn't tell me. My mum dropped it casually into a conversation when I was a teenager and I was really shocked. My dad doesn't talk about it at all which I found quite strange as it's a huge part of his life and found it quite unusual that he didn't want to share it with me and my siblings.

We have spoken about it since but I would have preferred for him to tell me about it than for my mum to just drop it into a random conversation one day.

bangcrash Thu 29-Sep-11 15:47:06

You don't sound like a twat...s'just complicated sometimes.

giyadas Thu 29-Sep-11 15:58:31

This thread has unnerved me slightly. I was adopted but have never told dd. It wasn't really a conscious decision, it just never came up. DD is 12 now, so it's far too late to do the early years thing.
I genuinely never gave it much thought but judging by this thread I've taken completely the wrong approach. Am now in two mind what to do.

Harriet - you haven't sounded like a twat at all.

Bugsy2 Thu 29-Sep-11 16:07:44

I'm adopted & it is a big no from me. I envisage telling my two in their late teens. I have such muddled thinking about my own adoption & lots of very conflicted feelings towards both my biological parents & my adoptive parents, that I know I would not be able to be objective with my children. As it is my children enjoy a good relationship with my parents and I would really hate for them to question that. It is bad enough that they have had to deal with their father having left & re-married, I think that every other bit of stability they can enjoy for now, should last as long as possible.
Harriet, you don't necessarily have to tell your Mum that you've traced your biological parents. Although, I always knew I was adopted, it was only discussed under duress as I got older and was always a bit of a dirty secret. I traced by biological parents when I left home but could never bring myself to discuss it with my parents.

boohoobabywho Thu 29-Sep-11 16:21:05

this isnt the same but its similar. my daughter is IVF and when she started asking where babies came from, i told her that normal mumies and daddies have a special hug, but that our special hug didnt work and we needed a doctor to help us. she understands and didnt ask for more info, but when she does we will tell her.

Bugsy2 Thu 29-Sep-11 16:26:24

boohoo, forgive me if this sounds a bit strong, but it isn't similar at all. It is a world apart. Your daughter has you & Mr BooHoo as her biological parents, regardless of the fact that you needed a bit of outside help to bring her into being. Adopted people are raised by parents they are not related to, other than legally. Up until recently, they would have had precious little information about who there biological parents were & would have had to wait until they were over 18 to be able to even try and trace them.

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