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Explaining adoption to a 3-y-o and 6-y-o(9 Posts)
My friends finally get their adopted son home with them forever tomorrow - yey!
I haven't talked too much about this with my children yet, basically because it has all happened so fast - 2 weeks since the panel approved and then he's home with them.
When I talk to them, I was thinking of saying that the baby has another mummy and daddy who weren't able to look after him and that my friends are going to be the baby's mummy and daddy instead. Is this too vague? Or too much of a downer on the birth parents?
What does everyone think? Any advice welcome!
You put it nicely to be honest.
One way of putting it is that the birth parents weren't able to keep the kids safe so they couldn't live with them (and perhaps stress that this is a very small no. of families that happens to in case your DC's get worried!).
And that sometimes when children can't live with their birth family, they get a new Mummy and Daddy found for them so they can be in a safe and loving family forever just like your DC's. This is called being adopted.
My sister struggled with how to explain to my nieces (also 6 and 3) that DSS's Mummy had died and I was now his Mummy. But, they knew that I loved him and since he calls me Mummy they've just accepted it.
As he's a baby, I'd just tell them that your friends have 'got' a baby. If they ask how come his Mummy wasn't pregnant, I'd explain that somebody else had the baby for them and that it's a wonderful thing your friends can be parents and that the baby will have such a lovely Mummy and Daddy. Any more questions and I'd ask your friends what they want you to say. I know social workers tell you that your child must know they're adopted and about their birth family (particularly amusing if you're me, your DH's former IL's come to stay, DSS sees them regularly etc) but it's up to the parents how to tell their children so you need to make sure you're all saying the same thing.
Incidentally, you sound like you're being very sensitive to their needs and emotions so I'm sure whatever you say, your friends will think you've handled it well. I bet they're on cloud nine right now!
Thanks for your comments, they are really helpful.
blithedance, it hadn't occurred to me stress that it only happens very rarely, so thanks, i think my kids will be more concerned about their own interests to be honest (aren't kids grand!!?!) so I will definitely make sure they know they are sticking with us forever!
randomtask, I think as my children and my friends' adopted son get older, I will definitely talk to them in more depth about what it means to be adopted so that it's out in the open in case they end up talking about it together!
It's v kind of you both to say I'm on the right track with explanations, so hopefully it should be straightforward .... but with kids you never know do you?! I'll see how it goes!
I think your way of putting it is fine. After all you dont really know why your friend's DS couldnt stay with his b.parents so its best not to be specific.
I am honest and more specific with my DS but he needs to know why because it is his story IYSWIM.
After the inital explanation it would be best to take your cue from mum and dad. They will have (hopefully) had some training in this area and will be able to tell you how they are going to approach the subject.
Congratulations to you friends
There's a good book about adoption in general which is aimed at 4-8 year olds. Its not an adoption story as such, more a young children's information book, its very non-threatening and I think most people would find it an aid to helping children to understand what adoption is without putting the fear of God into them.
The book is called 'A First Look at...Adoption: My New Family'
You'll find it easily enough on Amazon for about £5.
Thanks, I will talk to my friends and get a cue from them, and also look out for the book too.
Incidentally, I have decided that my 3-y-o need know nothing more than the fact that my friends have got a new baby at the moment! For my 6-y-o we had a chat about adoption today and she described it as "being looked after by somebody else" which I thought was quite neat.
I did then explain that her and her sister wouldn't be looked after by anyone else and that we'd always be her mummy and daddy and her response was "Oh really? I hate that idea!" She is a little rebel already!
Sounds like you've got a handle on it.
I think I would say something to the three y o as his/her idea of a new baby will obviously not compute with what he sees. £ is not too young to learn about adoption.
I'd also move the 'being looked-after by someone else' bit on too, to actually say that no they won't be 'looking after' the child, s/he will be their very own little boy/girl in just the same way DD is yours, its just she won't have grown in DF's tummy and hasn't always lived with them. Explain that they will be her mummy and daddy for ever, just like you are to DD.
Sound advice TEJQ, will do this at some point either before we go and visit our friends or as part of the visit.
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