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Adoption Blog: My Paperwork Pregnancies

When I Told
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One question that is asked of me often is “When did you tell your kids they were adopted?”  It’s something that I knew I was going to have to do early as we adopted outside our race and would obviously be a family formed through adoption.

The best advice I had heard about answering the question above is that your child should have no recollection about being told they were adopted. Just as you should have no idea when you discovered you were a boy or a girl, your child should have no idea when they found out about their adoption. It should just be a natural part of their life.

At first when I told my firstborn,Keith, his adoption story it lasted at least 10 minutes which is about 9 minutes and 45 seconds too long for a newborn baby. There were so many details that I thought were important to include such as why we chose adoption, the birthparents’ feelings, how we selected our agency, how long we waited, our travel to the hospital and so on.  I also cried when I told the story.  Some of the tears were from sadness and some from happiness because it was surreal to be sharing this emotional story with my baby boy.  He didn’t care what I was saying as long as I was talking to him. 

Over time Keith’s story lost a lot of the details.  It became shorter and shorter. Soon there were sound effects and goofy facial expressions (“And when we saw you we were SO happy!” (Insert big smiles and squeals of delight from me)).  His adoption story was becoming more age appropriate.  By the time he could say a few words he would help us tell his story.

We also had books to assist us in his adoption story.  For us, “Tell Me Again About the Night I was Born” by Jamie Lee Curtis and Laura Cornell was very popular. Its story is pretty close to our adoption experiences.  At the beginning of the book is a child’s family tree which includes branches with pictures of the Birthparents. Once Keith could point, he would point out the Birthparent pictures in the book when we told him his adoption story.

We don’t tell our children their adoption stories on a daily basis. About once a week, we may share a quick adoption story during baths or snuggle time.  It is told to them often enough that it is now easy for us tell it.  Our children were raised with the word “Adoption” used often in our house.  Maybe a tad too often.  Keith is now seven years old and has been known to roll his eyes while saying “I know Mom!” when I start to retell him his adoption story.  But I’ll take this any day instead of stumbling over my words if he had to ask, “Mom, am I adopted?”

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Meet the Author

Danielle Pennel

Danielle Pennel


I have recently adopted or am adopting from...
U.S. Newborn, U.S. Newborn

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