We adopted my neice when she was 6 months old. We are the only parents that she knows. She is now 5 and we are thinking maybe it is time to tell her. Her bio mother is my sister and is not around us very much. We see her a family gatherings and love her very much. Her bio dad died in a car wreck last year, but our daughter never saw him after we got her.
She loves us so much. We do not want to hurt her. She does know my sister as her aunt.
Does anyone have any advice? We have actually already started talking about baby dolls and our dogs being adopted, so the word is not new to her.
There are some excellent books around which suggest ways of dealing with this question. I think you are on the right track, working up to it. At the moment, she probably doesn't really get the pregnancy situation so you can talk about growing in one mommy's tummy but that mommy couldn't look after her, so another mommy and daddy came and loved her so much that she became their own little girl. This is the approach my sister took with their little girl, and she is now 16 and has always accepted this. I think you need to get your sister's blessing if you want to tell her that auntie is really her birth mother. It may be better to wait until she makes that leap and asks about her birth mother.
That's a hard question. We adopted my neice and nephew last summer. Their bio dad (my brother) died a few months after we adopted them, and they don't remember their bio mom. (she took off and left them with my brother when the younger one was just a few months old).
Is there any particular reason that you need to tell your daughter right now? Is anyone else in the family (like her bio mom) threatening to tell her or pressuring you to?
The reason I ask is that it has seemed a lot easier for us to just explain things as they come up. The kids have always called me "mama" because they have lived with us most of their lives and they don't remember their bio mom. Recently, my nephew/new son who is a bit older than your daughter noticed that all the kids in our family (he, his sister, and my bio. children)call me "mama", but his "brothers" call my husband "daddy" and he and his sister call my husband by a nickname. (same as they did when he was their uncle). We just reminded him gently that his daddy had gone to heaven, and that my husband is happy being called by his nickname, or daddy, whatever my nephew/son chooses. He didn't pursue the "mama" issue, so we let it go at that, and he seemed satisfied.
However, of course, since your daughter has no idea that she is adopted, nothing may ever "come up" in conversation for your family, and you, I'm sure, want her to hear it from you as opposed to anyone else. It's so tricky, isn't it?
There is so much to consider...will it be possible (and healthy) for her to have a relationship with your sister starting now if you tell her and she wants one? or is going to break her heart to hear that her aunt is really her mother and doesn't really want anything to do with her? (not suggesting that is the case with your sis., just thinking of possibilities?)
You may want to consider, too, or share with us, why your sister chose to allow you to adopt her baby? Is there something there that may be part of the explanation you use? Was she very young? sick? an addict? in an abusive relationship? If any of this was the case, is she in a better place now to be a part of your daughter's life or to help answer the questions that are going to come up for years to come once your little girl finds out?
Lots to consider...it weighs on our hearts,too, all the time how much my brother and his girlfriend hurt these precious children before they came to us, and we are a bit further down the path of their understanding because they were not as fortunate as your daughter to be placed in loving hands when they were too young to remember anything else. We are fighting to protect them from anymore hurt.
I can partly imagine what goes through your mind and I want you to how lucky your daughter is to have such caring parents.
Let me know what you are considering and share more of your story if you care to. It's nice to hear from someone else who is facing the same issues.
God bless you for taking that baby into your home! Marirose
My sister whom I love dearly, is an addict. She is currently in a rehab program and is doing well.
When she was pregnant with the baby, she was clean and very determined to be the best mom ever. She also has an older son that my parents have adopted because of her drug problems. That is why she was going to try so hard to be good. She did great for about 2 months. All of a sudden, she would just disappear for days at a time and show back with the baby having on smelly clothes, soggy diapers, and not clean.
This is when we started keeping the baby most all of the time and were granted temp. custody. After several months, we decided somethings needed to be permanent for the baby's sake. My sister agreed and signed over her rights. The bio dad did not, but we won by default because he did not show up in court. (They both had legal issues and did not want any part of court.)
We are not feeling forced in any way to tell our daughter about her being adopted, but like you siad, we do not want her to find out from someone else.
Our daughter loves her aunt, but we rarely see her. She pretty much lives her own life. My sister is like us and only wants what is best, but right now, her feelings are not my concern.
Our daughter knows that she has a brother that lives with her grandparents and has asked if his mommy was _________ (my sister's name her). I really think that this is on her mind.
Lately, she has been asking me questions about if she came from my tummy. I do not want to avoid her questions. Than is why I decided to post this.
I admire you for taking in your neice and nephew. I don't know about you, but I love mine just as much as my bio daughter and would not trade her for the world. She has made mine and my husbands life complete. She is a true gift from God.
Hi - don't have a lot of time to type right now, but just wanted to say that our stories are very similar. My brother and his girlfriend were both addicts - my brother died of his addiction, and I have no idea what ever became of the children's mother.
I can see that the time is coming that you have to answer directly now that your beautiful daughter does have reason to question you.
I can tell by reading your post that you love that little one very much, and that is the essence, I think, of what will carry y'all home to "happily ever after".
I love my new son & daughter as much as I love our "bios" - we have 7 "bio" boys - so that little girl of mine is especially a gift from God! They are all I have left of my much-loved big brother, too, and that makes them an even more beautiful blessing in our eyes.
I would really like to respond further to your post and wish I had more time to do so now. In the meantime, know that I am thinking of you & sending prayers your way- Marirose
Last edited by Marirose; 07-25-2007 at 04:20 PM.
Hi - Our computer has been down awhile & it is a very busy time for us work-wise but was just wondering how things are going with your daughter and if you've come to any decisions on what to tell her yet? Hope all is well, Mari
All is well. We still have not made a definate decision as to how or when to tell her about the adoption.
We may hold off a little longer as we are now in the process of trying to move her out of our bed and into her own (this is not easy for us or her). We do not want to put too much on her or cause her to be upset.
I know in my heart that the time is coming and am praying that all will be OK.
As for my sister, I do not think that we will feel good about letting the two of them go off by themselves for my daughters well being. I do not think the my sister would even ask as she has plans to move out of state after leaving rehab.
How are things with you and your family? You are probably getting ready for school?
For the past several weeks, we have been having little conversations about adoption (we just got a new pet). This was our way of leading up to the "harder stuff" that we felt she should know.
Well, last night we started out lightly talking. My husband started by telling her how much he loved her and that he was so proud to be her daddy. Then her told her that he wasn't alway her dad. She said very calmly, "really?" and he explained. She handled that part very well and just told him that she loved him and that he would be her daddy forever.
After that, I talked to her some about her growing in my heart and not in my tummy. The look on her face made me want to retract everything we said. She looked like her world just fell apart. She grabbed me, cried, and held on for a long time. We explained that we loved her very much and that she would always be our baby. We reminded her about how special she was and showed her all of the pictures of when she was a baby and us holding her. This made her smile and she told me I was the best mommy ever. We told her if she ever had any questions, she could ask.
We did tell her who her bio dad was becasue he died in a car accident 2 years ago. We will wait until later to tell her who her bio mom is as that is a little more difficult being a family member.
After lots of hugs and kisses, she went to bed and this morning, she got up and never mentioned anything about last night.
Probably best to wait until she's much older to tell her who her bio mom is. Relative of mine told her child when she was going thru a bunch of teenage angst, which led to visits by the bio parents -- really caused a lot of turmoil.
Another relative was given info and she waited until she was married and had children of her own before making contact. She's in contact with her bio sister and half brother by phone and email.
I was adopted at birth back in 1963- outside the family, closed adoption
....when unwed pregnant teens were seen as floozies (which my birthmother was not- did a search, and wrote for a while, then she disappeared after a scathing letter about the relatives she encouraged me to have contact with....I still have contact with them). But I was 19 when I found her, and it was extremely emotional....
I have 2 thoughts on her knowing at 5 years old.....
1. It will be sort of a 'normal' part of her life, and not something to get used to later. I think that's important
2. She might be confused about your love and intentions in bringing her birthmother back into her life now. She's probably just starting kindergarten? That's sort of a form of socially acceptable abandonment for kids (which I have no problem with, but it's a stressful time for a little kid, who is having to learn to be away from a major source of security- home- for many hours a day (which seem a lot longer to a little kid), and to learn that someone she knows is really the person who gave birth to her might be a little much right now.
Can you start out with telling her she's adopted- start slow, and make sure she is secure in how much you love her, and that you chose to make her your daughter, and you didn't have to - but she was so special, you just had to bring such a sweet, lovable little girl home to be your daughter- GET THAT STUCK IN HER HEAD before going any further. Go overboard for a while. Be cheesey if you need to. Talk with her birthmother about how you are working on the best way to transition into making her more a part of your daughter's life, but want to be sure there's no harm done, and no reason for her to think she's not loved, or is being "given away" again. (that's something adopted kids think about- and some overachieve to try and be 'good enough' to not be 'thrown away'.....that was my strategy). It's hard to know that someone out there gives us away (for whatever reason- and a child doesn't have the cognitive skills to understand different circumstances.....I have no ill feelings towards my birthmother's decision to relinquish me- I feel badly for her and how her family handled it for her sake, but she was young- 17, and knew she wasn't ready= that's a gift).
But I do think it's important she knows she's adopted while she's still young- that alone will build trust between your family. For her to find out later from another family member would be devastating- and any trust with you could be irreparably shot. She needs to hear it from you. I learned when I was very young, and it was 'just how things were', which was good- it was never a surprise, or any big deal.
I was adopted when I was two days old. From the very little I've been told, my bio mother was a drug addict who drank and smoked through the entirety of the pregnancy and then, the day after I was adopted, ran for the hills like there was no tomorrow. My bio dad was a smoker who played pool and worked as a mechanic, as close as I can tell. I was told that I was adopted when I was seven. And, truthfully, I was fine with it.
The one thing I would like to recommend is also the one thing that sort of shattered it for me. I was told that I was adopted when I was seven, but my adoptive parents didn't bother to tell me that I had met some of my biological relatives already until I was thirteen. My biological father was my adopted father's brother-in-law's cousin (Well, if that doesn't sound like the start of a bad joke...) and the cousins that I went down to visit every year were in fact my true second cousins. It bothered me because I was always curious about my family but too afraid to ask.
If you tell your daughter, let her know that she is a blood relation and tell her she can ask any questions she wants. The worst part about me finding out I was adopted is that my parents tried to keep information from me My bio-parents were always the sort of topic that was whispered about behind hands instead of "Would you like to know what they were like?". That's not right, in my opinion.