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10 Reasons Not to Pretend an Adopted Child is a Biological One

By Diana Stone |

Reasons Not to Pretend an Adopted Child is a Biological One via Babble.comWhen I taught, there was a little boy in our school who loved to chatter on about his sister. Apparently they were quite close in age, and one day I asked where his sister went to school.

He casually answered, “Colombia.”

Unsure of what on earth he meant, I spoke to his teacher about it. He explained that both the boy and girl were adopted but not blood related, and his sister was in the process of coming home still, and the family had gone down to visit several times.

Then he said, “And neither of them know they’re adopted.”

What? How was that even possible?

Apparently the family adopted the boy around the age of 2, so he didn’t remember anything. But the little girl got caught up in all the legal problems that can happen, and had been waiting several years to come home. In the meantime, she’d grown up in an orphanage there. Somehow (and I have no idea what enabled this to be pulled off) the parents had convinced her and their son that she was actually theirs but had to live in Colombia for a while.

The second year I taught we actually got to meet her and indeed – their new daughter only was told she had been born to both parents and stuck in another “home” for a while.

All of us teachers were asked by the parents to never tell the children or anyone else they were adopted. Even though the entire small community knew. The girl and boy did strikingly their mother by all having dark hair/eyes, so it wasn’t noticeable right off the bat to a stranger that their family wasn’t blood related.

I have no idea if they plan to tell them later, and it’s not my place to judge, but I’ll admit that quite frankly I was shocked at all of this and wondered how it would impact these children’s lives – told or not? One day they’d have to start to question it all.

We respected their choice but I told myself if I ever adopted I would never pretend that. Besides the honesty and mental issues later on, not to mention the stress that keeping a secret of that magnitute would cause, here are some of my personal reasons why we’ll always tell our adopted children their whole story, regardless of if they look like us or not:

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Reasons to Tell Your Child They're Adopted

No One Wants to Marry Their Sibling

Just this. Yes, it's a long shot. But there was a couple on Dr. Phil one day that discovered they were brother and sister - so there is always a possibility. And it's not a fun one.

*identifying details changed to protect privacy

All photos credit of iStockphoto

Diana blogs on raising a toddler daughter, the loss of her twin boys, and their families’ Korean adoption in progress on the aptly named Hormonal Imbalances.Smaller glimpses into her day are on Twitter and Facebook, and on Pinterest.

MORE FROM DIANA:

Delhi Charter School Pregnancy Policy: Pee on a Stick or Drop Out

How Do You Prepare a Biological Child For an Adopted One?

I Put On My Big Girl Panties and We Got Somewhere

Pondering International Adoption? 10 Tips on Choosing an Agency

MORE ON BABBLE:

How much does adoption REALLY cost?
25 totally ridiculous vintage ads featuring babies
10 things not to say to a couple struggling to get pregnant
13 incredible newborn baby photos to replicate
The 25 most popular baby names of all time

More on Babble

About Diana Stone

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Diana Stone

Diana Stone blogs at Diana Wrote about her life with a daughter here and three sons in heaven, life as an army wife, and her faith. Smaller glimpses into her day are on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. Read bio and latest posts → Read Diana's latest posts →

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12 thoughts on “10 Reasons Not to Pretend an Adopted Child is a Biological One

  1. Kristi Bonney says:

    Oh goodness. I’ve never adopted so I’m not speaking from personal experience here, but I think it’s important to tell the child early on. If not for medical reasons, imagine the pain they’d experience upon learning that they’ve been lied to. It’s not a small little Santa Claus lie either. This is a great big lie. Ugh.

  2. Veronica says:

    I really like this post because there are TONS of reasons why lying in this instance is a bad idea. I have a relative that i still dont know to this day whether I am really related to or not. Joking around and lying about adoption is confusing for kids – even the ones who werent adopted – cant imagine being the adopted child. Excellent post.

  3. Stephanie says:

    I completely agree with this article. I had to seperate friends who were told when they were 18 and went through a massive crisis. One starts taking risks to kill himself and the other one started doing drugs. I always sympathized but didn’t get it till I found out at 21 I was adopted because my biological mom got in touch with me not knowing I didnt know. This was all about 6 months ago. And I have a horrible relationship with my adopted family and feel bad because they are really mad that I found out and choose to be a part of my biological families life too.

  4. millie says:

    Wow thats really sad! I have two adopted girls and my third is on his way. one will be 5 my other daughter will be 2. I have always told them that they have been our chosen children and that mommy couldn’t carry a baby in her belly and that these wonderful angels called birthmothers carried them in their belly. I have told them each there angels names and they Have chosen us to be their mommy and daddy and we are the luckiest people to have the most wonderful girls in the world. They will always know their stories and maybe have their own stories someday. My 5 year old was with us at the hospital when we pick-up our second child girl from hospital and now our two girls will be there to pick-up their baby brother when he is born this week. Our children are all from the US we have adopted them at birth and we have truely been blessed. :) I hope this couple comes around! maybe they need to be in some adoption network. Who knows!

  5. Barbara Ann Harris says:

    I was adopted and always knew it. My parents told me that they ‘chose’ me and that always made me feel very special and wanted.

  6. Audra Lee says:

    I had a little boy when I was 16. I decided not to give him up, but give him more. His parents are wonderful and he has 2 adopted sisters. His parents have always made it known they were adopted. My son wants to know me and I was able to speak with him on his 13th birthday. He confided in me that when he meets people his family isn’t going ro meet he tells them his name is the name I gave him at birth. He told me he makes up secret scenarios of meeting me. I can tell that it is not easy for him knowing he has parents and a birth mother. I imagine it would be harder if he was all the sudden told or found out accidentally. Adoption is a wonderful thing but it also is an emotionally challenging situation to deal with. Its best not being a total surprise or secret.

  7. Jen de Jong says:

    I have a 12 month old that we adopted from birth. We have decided that she will grow up knowing her whole story – we want her to be proud of who she is and where she came from. Her “Tummy Mommy” (as we call the bio mom) is a great girl who just could not care for our daughter – she made a very loving decision. I want my daughter to know this – I want her to know that adoption is about love and there is nothing about it that needs to be hidden. Not telling an adopted child where they came from is a very harmful decision – if you dont want to be honest with your adopted child regarding where they came from then adoption is not for you……..

  8. Christina says:

    One day when I was 29 years old I got an email from a lady who, after some awkward back-and-forth told me she was my biological mother. My parents never told me I was adopted. They denied it over and over again when I would ask them because I was so perplexed as to why I didn’t fit in with them. That led me to not trust my own instincts and to assume there was something wrong with or different about me because I didn’t fit in with my own family. Bad stuff. Don’t do it, people!

  9. JESSY says:

    I agree about the need for honest but its not always a good thing. i myself was adopted at age 9 but due to the system and the way the adoption was handled there were alot of hurt people and feeling. the family i was placed with didnt want me but were basically told my birth mother sgned pepers stateing that i had to be kept with my infant sister i never met and the family had already grown attatched to her so they willingly took me to keep the lil girl they wanted so bad but it was all down hill from there i was told almost daily that i wasnt wanted and they only wanted my lil sister. told that nobody wanted me not even my own mother who has now been a part of my life for about 8 years. I have seen up close and personal the harm finding out that you dont belong where you are supposed to feel stable and secure can cause now as a 34 year old adult i tend not to trust anyone or maintain any real type of stable relationships because of the fear that one day just like everyone else that person will be gone. i believe that when a child is old enough to handle the info and process it then it can be shared. I personally believe that a child can sense the difference in being a member of a family and being an adopted member of the family especially in a family that has their own kids or where the children dont share family resemblences like myself haveing jet black hair and blue eyes in a family of blondes.. I think adoption is great if its done for the right reasons but the childs later years are always something to be thought about….

  10. Erika says:

    We adopted our children as newborns and we’ve always openly talked about it…starting on the first day.

    Saying things like, “I’m so happy we adopted you”, “I’m glad you came to live with us” and telling bits and pieces of their adoption story, as it related to what we were doing – all made it just part of our everyday conversations. We didn’t have to have a big, “let’s sit down, I’ve got something to tell you” conversation – b/c it wasn’t necessary to do so. It made it not a “big deal” — ppl create families in many different ways, and we just grew ours through adoption.

    It has created an environment where the boys feel comfortable to talk about their birth parents, their adoption and all the therebetween, just as the thoughts arise. Now 6 & 7, they are becoming more interested in the details and coming up with new questions – and it’s not uncommon for something to be brought up / asked on the way home from the grocery store. Just as they ask about other family members, or what our life was like as kids, what our favorite flavor of ice cream is, what our next vacation will be … and any other topic there is to talk about.

    I hope this doesn’t come across as though I’m minimizing adoption, I understand what the impact of that can mean for the adopted – I’m just trying to convey that it doesn’t have to be so “heavy” or “serious” – a “thing”… it can just “be” and be what it really is, no big deal, just how it is –
    and as more people treat it as such, those not in the adoption community will start to think like that too and it can be “normal” — it can be one less burden for those adopted to deal with.

  11. Mary says:

    I was never told I was adopted and found out at age 46, after both parents passed away, and oh yes, it does hurt to find out like that. I think I know why they didn’t tell me, perhaps fear that someday I would leave to find my bio family, and that hurts too because I don’t know how they could think I would ever do that either. They are gone, so I will never know their reasons. All I can say is that if you have an adopted child, for God’s sake, PLEASE tell them the truth. They have a right to know about their roots and medical history.

  12. Carrie says:

    We adopted our son when he was 11 months old and from day one we have talked about adoption. He is 5 now and we celebrate his adoption day, he has a memory book that his Birth Mom and I made together for him. I would feel like I was lying to him everyday if we didn’t tell him. We are trying to figure out how to explain his siblings from his Birth Mom but I think we have a little while before it will be too bad. Our son is very smart and tries to teach others about adoption.

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