Talking to your child about adoption

Starting the conversation about your child being adopted can seem daunting and scary.


But being honest is the best way for them to understand their identity.


family laughing

Mother and daughter laughing

Telling a child they are adopted is not a one-off task.


Information and explanations to children who have been separated from their birth family will change as they grow.


As they mature, they will need more detailed answers to their ever-probing questions.


Tips and advice 

  • Keep your tone casual and relaxed
  • Don’t talk too much, keep it simple and don’t overcomplicate it
  • Accompany discussion with feel-good actions: snuggles, smiles, laughter
  • Begin talking when your child is young, the earlier they are the easier it can be
  • Keep your conversation age appropriate
  • Be honest
  • Talk often and show that you’re willing to talk whenever your child wants to
  • If your child isn’t talking, consider using techniques to spark conversation. Use books or TV programmes
  • If you adopted your child at an older age, make sure he/she/they are receiving the explanations and support needed
  • Learn how to respond to other people’s questions appropriately
  • End each adoption talk with your child with an affirmation of how happy you are to have adopted them


If you’re questioned by a stranger about your child say adoption has been great for your family, but this is not a good time. If appropriate, take the person’s phone number and offer to call later. Your upbeat response lets your child know the topic is not taboo, while protecting his privacy.


Book recommendations 

  • A Mother for Choco, – Keiko Kasza
  • It’s Okay to Be Different – Todd Parr
  • Tell Me Again About the Night I Was Born –  Jamie Lee Curtis
  • I Don’t Have Your Eyes – Carrie Kitze
  • The Invisible String – Patrice Karst

If you want more advice, please contact the adoption support team via email at adoptionsupport@adoptioninmerseyside.co.u