I believe the best way to help your child understand adoption is to start early and with whatever language is appropriate for his age. I think that my adoptive parents handled things well with my sisters and me. We have all known we were adopted since before we can remember. How do you go about doing that? The best way to achieve that is to talk openly about the adoption from the beginning.

You can use all kinds of opportunities to bring up the topic and plant seeds to be explored later. Let’s say you see a pregnant woman at the park or at the beach. You can say, “I’m so glad your birth mother chose us to be your parents” or “I couldn’t carry a child, but I always wanted to be a parent.”

Think of adoption information like pieces to a puzzle. Each tidbit of info is like a new piece. The early info is like your border pieces. With each new corner piece, you start to get the idea of the big picture. As that child gets older, you can add some of the details or middle pieces. Eventually your child will have questions. Those answers will add more pieces. Hopefully one day your child’s puzzle will be complete.

My parents explained to us that we were chosen by God for them, and we were always meant to be a family. I understood and accepted that to be true. As an adult, I have heard people complain about adoptees being referred to as “chosen.” My mom called us her “chosen babies,” and I always found it endearing. Some think it puts pressure on the adoptee to perfect or commits then to subservience. No matter what words you use to explain adoption, you should be as open and honest as you can.

Ashley Foster is a freelance writer. She is a wife and mother of two currently residing in Florida. She loves taking trips to the beach with her husband and sons. As an infant, she was placed with a couple in a closed adoption. Ashley was raised with two sisters who were also adopted. In 2016, she was reunited with her biological family. She advocates for adoptees’ rights and DNA testing for those who are searching for family. Above all, she is thankful that she was given life. You can read her blog at //ashleysfoster.blogspot.com/