Fun and effective ways to tell your child she’s adopted!

by Adele Pereira

The sky’s the limit here! Because every parent-child relationship is unique in its own unique socio-cultural context. So, as you read these ways in which we’ve shared the wonderful news about our daughter’s adoption with her, please do feel inspired to come up with your own and write in to share with more parents!

From when she came home at 4 months to when she was 1 year old

I’d sit cross legged on the mattress, carry her in my arms and say: Esther, your tummy mummy loved you very much but she was very tired and couldn’t take care of you, so she kept you down. (Then I’d keep her down on the mattress). She asked Jesus to take care of you, so Jesus came and picked you up. And we asked Jesus to give you to us so Jesus put you in my arms. Then I’d pick her up again and kiss her and hug her and tell her I love her. I would do this at anytime, but specially the times at which I would remember her birth mother – out of gratitude for the beautiful baby she has enabled me to have.

From when she came home at 4 months to the present time and ongoing…

  • When she was a baby we would pray for her tummy mummy and tummy family every night in front of her, asking God to bless them, keep them safe and healthy and happy. Now we (unfortunately) pray for them less frequently, but we always pray for them on her birthdays.
  • We always talk about her adoption in front of her very frankly to guests who visit or anyone we meet who asks about her or about adoption. This way she knows it’s a very normal fact of her life, just like we would talk about her beautiful curly hair or what new thing she’s learnt to do.
  • We keep her fully involved in her own adoption process. Like when the social worker comes home for the follow up visit I would tell her – this is Puja aunty or Puja aunty’s friend. She has come from the same office where we brought you home from.
  • She knows Puja aunty and their office because countless times I’ve shown her snaps of the first time we met her, the day we brought her home, etc.
  • As she’s grown, I’ve added a narrative to these snaps, describing details like how it rained the day we met her and dada took out his hanky and put on her head, how happy I felt when I first held her. Nowadays at age 2 years 8 months, she asks to hear Esther stories at bedtime- and she tells me which one she wants to hear- ‘the one when Puja aunty called you to tell about Esther’ or ‘the one where mama-dada brought Esther home in the car’.
  • Involving her in her younger brother’s adoption process. She came with us to every visit to the agency and court. And we took snaps of the same too.

When she started talking and singing:

  • We made up a short song about adoption and used to sing it to her.
  • I’d ask her who else is adopted and she’ll rattle off the names of all the people she knows in our community who are adopted. Whenever we meet a new person who is adopted, I make it a point to tell Esther, see this aunty’s baby is also adopted, so she knows she’s not the only one with this special status and there are others like her.

Things I want to do in the future:

  • Read to her the accounts of children adopted in the bible: Moses, Esther (after whom she is named) and Jesus who was adopted by his foster father Joseph.
  • Create a unique storybook with snaps, doodles and drawings about her adoption and her brother’s adoption process.

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