How Should I Talk to My Adopted Child about Their Birth Parents?

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When you talk to your child about their birth parents, you need to remember that, regardless of the circumstances surrounding the adoption, your child will always be a part of their birth parents. They have their blood flowing through them. Their genetics and much of their identity will be held in your view and portrayal of their birth parents. It’s often difficult to place feelings aside in situations that are not always clean-cut. However, your feelings have to be placed behind the needs of your child. It is your job as a parent to help them feel loved, wanted, and valued.

Talk about the Positive

When the topic of your child’s birth parents arises, talk about the positive as much as possible. There are plenty of amazing birth parents who placed their child out of intense love. Regardless of any obstacles my son and daughter’s birth parents may being going through in life, I have no doubt in my mind how much they adore them. I will tell my children, every time they ask and every time we speak of their birth parents, about how much they are loved. I will speak of their father’s unbeatable sense of humor and their mother’s heart for others. I will tell my daughter how her joking spirit is much like her father’s and how she has her mother’s beautiful smile. I will tell my son how his birth family raves to all their friends about how handsome and smart he is.

There are many situations where talking about birth parents can be a difficult or sensitive subject. Not every adoption is open, and not every placement came from a happy place. Regardless, it is important to be careful about how you approach the topic. Your child may worry that they will become like their birth parent. In some cases, depending on the circumstances and how you have spoken about their birth parents, this may be more of a fear than a positive.

If you are unable to say positives about a birth parent or simply do not know enough to speak about them, it is best to stick to positives that will encourage your child’s identity. Use phrases such as “You are so smart! I bet you have many relatives who think just like you!” or “I am so happy your birth parents passed down those beautiful green eyes to you!”  If you struggle with speaking positively about a birth parent, it is better to follow the age old saying “If you can’t say anything nice, it’s better to not say anything at all.”

If you are a birth parent, click here to learn about what you should know after placement. For more information on adoption or search and reunion, visit For a comprehensive course about search and reunion, visit


Written by Lita Jordan

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