1 "Parents should start at the beginning - the child's beginning. That means talking about the child's birth and places that she lived before being adopted. The child's life did not start with her adoption, although she may have no conscious memory of her life before her adoption, and her parents may have little information." We can teach our child about his/her life before their adoption even with little personal info - we can create a "life book" containing our own journey to adopt, pictures of his/her orphanage & transition home, photos of Ethiopia and the village where he/she was born, facts about her culture, mementos from our trips, etc. I love to be creative and "crafty," so this excites me. We can get the book started and as our child grows older, our child can help us add to the book and learn to tell his/her story. Love this. We'll want to get this book out often throughout the year and leave it in a prominent place in our home. We want it to be natural, and not a once a year occasion to talk about the adoption.
2 "It is important to tell the adopted child that her birth parents probably loved her and that it was probably difficult for them to place her for adoption, but that they thought that was what would be best for her...A child should be reassured that her birth parents placed her for adoption because they weren't able to act as parents of any baby, not because there was anything wrong with her." We need to be sure our child can openly communicate with us about his/her birth parents, and that we do not disrespect or tarnish them in our child's eyes - no matter the circumstances surrounding the child being given up for adoption. The act of placing a child up for adoption is an act of love and care for the child.
3 "Some children talk more than others about adoption because they are more verbal. Parents who are unsure whether their children are fully expressing their interest in their origins may want to look at how their children gather information or express themselves on other topics. Is this a child who talks through a problematic situation, or is she more likely to work through issues alone or express herself through art, music, or movement? A child who tends to be more intense about expressing her feelings may express more intensity about adoption than a child who is more easygoing." It's definitely going to be a challenge to pick up on these cues and help direct them. We want to encourage ways of expressing feelings and thoughts in a way that is safe for our child. We always want it to be natural, and we want to take advantage of the opportunities we're afforded to talk about these things as our child continues to grow and develop. Adoption will not be a one-time explanation or conversation. It is part of who they are, and as they develop it will mean different things to them and they'll explore different aspects of it. It will be a continuousjourney for them and for us.