National Adoption Directory

Find an Adoption Agency

Find an Adoption Attorney

Full Directory ►

Join Adoption Groups!

Click the arrows to expand each group category below

Family Building Options

Starting Out in Adoption

Waiting to Adopt

U.S. Newborn Adoption

U.S. Foster Adoption

International Adoption

My Family

My Adoption Interests

My Child's Age/Stage

My Location

The Adoption Triad

Adoptive Families Magazine

U.S. Foster Adoptive Families

How do we tell our 6 year old they were adopted?

Our child joined our family as a baby in foster care, then we became a forever family.  There have been visits with the birthparents over the years, but they are our friends.  We’ve waited to tell the story and now feel it is time to share because many questions are starting to come up about being in my tummy.  Where do we start?


Oh wow. This is not helpful, but this is the very type of scenario that is best avoided by telling the child from day one that they were adopted. But I have no advice how to break the news to them now.

No advice except, DO NOT WAIT ANY LONGER!!!!!

Posted by Waiting4baby on Apr 18, 2017 at 9:06pm

I would sit him down and tell him the truth. Some children are born into the family and others are adopted. You were in blank’s body before you were born and they couldn’t be your parents because of blank. We had you from the time you were blank and so adopted you.

There are loads of books. If you have pictures of the legalization you could show them. If you need help of an adoption professional you could try that.
Waiting4baby is right now is the time. You are already very late. Most kids grow up knowing they are adopted like they know other things about themselves they don’t get (ie you are a Methodist, a German- American, a boy, etc)

Posted by Regina on Apr 18, 2017 at 10:17pm

Wow.  My brother and sister in law are now dealing with this with their 6 year old daughter.  She made some snide comments to our daughter about her “real parents not wanting her.”  (our daughter was also adopted from foster care, but was 3 when she was placed with us).  We believed our niece had been told all along, and when we heard the comments to our daughter and asked our niece how we were any less “real parents” than her parents were to her, the whole thing came out and all hell broke loose.  She now is extremely angry, doesn’t trust her parents because they have lied to her for her entire life, etc.  So be prepared for some anger and unusual acting out while your child works through this new information.  You may also want to seek out an adoption counselor to help your family with this. But you cannot wait any longer.

Posted by gocode03 on Apr 19, 2017 at 1:45am

Everything everyone else said, but I think this will be complicated by the fact that the natural parents “are our friends.” So the child is not only finding out (too late, but you know that now, and just have to deal) that he/she is adopted, but that family friends are the actual natural parents.
Double betrayal, and I’m not saying that to be mean but a close friend found out her family friends (she’d always suspected something off but didn’t push it at a young age) were in fact her parents.
It was not pretty and it didn’t serve her well later in life.
At age 6, which is well beyond a toddler and children unless delayed are quite astute,, and with the other
parents being “friends,” the “she had you in her tummy” will probably backfire, if not now then later in life.
Don’t get caught up in defensive the “real parents” debate (I wiped your nose and read to you at night while they weren’t there”)
This child needs to know that s/he was adopted, that your “friends” are in fact his/her biological parents, and it needs to be done sooner than later. If you don’t believe me go into some of the threads from adoptees, and not their adoptive parents.

Posted by Maryam on Apr 19, 2017 at 3:44am

I think what you don’t want to do is have a big conversation, but, rather, bring it up and tell him/her the truth in a matter of fact way.  You can say, “remember how you asked about being in my tummy?  Well, sometimes, for lots of different reasons, a baby is born to one mom/family, but then becomes part of another family, and that is called adoption.  You grew in your birth mom’s tummy, and that person is (whatever name he/she knows that person by).  When you were born, that person wasn’t able to keep you safe/take care of you, so you came to live with us, and we became your forever family.”  You want to make it clear that this had nothing to do with your child being “bad”.  We use the phrase “grown-up problems”.

The important thing is not to treat this like some big secret that has to be revealed.  Families are made in different ways.  Adoption is one way families are made.  Sometimes kids live with only one parent, or live with grandparents or aunts/uncles, and sometimes kids live with adoptive parents, all of these are normal.  The sooner you start talking about this (because it will be more than one conversation), the better for your child.  All three of my kids came to us through adoption, it is something they have always known, and they do ask questions about their birth moms or birth families.

Posted by jszmom on Apr 19, 2017 at 12:06pm

The vital thing is not to treat this like some huge mystery that must be uncovered. Families are made in various ways. Reception is one way families are made. Now and again kids live with just a single parent, or live with grandparents or close relatives/uncles, and here and there children live with new parents, these are typical.

Posted by boshir on Apr 25, 2017 at 8:04pm

I know you are getting a late start here, but I think there are ways to do this so that it is not so traumatic, but really don’t wait another moment.

Our son who we adopted at birth has always known.  It was just the way I said things ever since he was born and that it was just a fact of who he is and how he came into our family and that is was never a huge discovery.

Our son is now a very well adjusted amazing 17 year old who is very comfortable with who he is and why he was adopted.  What worked really well for us, but may not work for you, depending on your circumstances is that I always spoke about the fact that God knew even before my son was born that he was meant to be my son and because I could not have a baby grow in my tummy that he had to grow in another person’s tummy and that when it came time for him to be born, he came to live with us because that was how God planned it.

We don’t attend church and are not super religious, but do believe in and pray to God, so for us this really worked.  My son knows and has met many of his biological family and although the door has always been open for him to have a relationship with them, they really don’t have one.  That is a conscious choice the bio family and my son have made and really has nothing to do with me.  I have encouraged the relationship but never forced it.  Maybe when he is older he may see things differently, but for now, we are the only parents he has.  By the way, I have a great relationship with his bio mom and one of his bio sisters and I love them more than words could ever express and I get emotional every time I think about the gift my son’s bio mom gave me when she made me a mom.

Good luck to you.

Posted by Bugaboo'sMom on May 18, 2017 at 4:41pm

I think folks have some good thoughts here. My son is 4 and we regularly speak about him being adopted in front of others. He’s bi-racial and we present white, so sometimes people ask. But our son never brought anything up that would lead into the conversation. So I finally just grabbed the birth book we had made for his bio-mom one night and read that at bedtime because I felt like we were late on having a conversation to him about it instead of just around him. And he clearly wasn’t going to be asking any questions that would help me bring it up more organically. So I used the book (that was always on his shelf and he never picked up) and just said he was in her tummy and then came to live with us. Which is also a bit confusing to him b/c his adoptive dad and I have been divorced and my wife and I co-parent with him. But he doesn’t remember his dad and I being together nor life without my wife.

But, all that say, feel empowered to start the conversation. Like a lot of things surrounding biology, we never get to have just one conversation about it. It’ll be an ongoing tale with more information unraveling as they get older and understand more. Perhaps you could even say, we can talk about this more now, or I’m happy to talk about it later after you’ve thought about it. Maybe having some tools ready to work through the emotions like art or exercise, whatever your child likes. And respect how they want to handle it. It’s a mind boggling concept to understand.

Posted by EmmeLane on May 18, 2017 at 9:01pm

Thank you all for your feedback.  The opportunity came up on it’s own when he asked me in the car one day if he was adopted. I answered, yes, sweetie you are.  You were in another lady’s tummy and she knew she couldn’t take care of any babies.  She looked for a family that could take care of you and she chose us.  God knew that we wanted a baby boy and we picked you of all the boys in the world.  It has been about two weeks now and in the beginning, he kept saying he didn’t know he was adopted. I told him well, now you know and we are a forever family and we love each other very much.  Not many questions yet, but I’m sure they will come. We will answer them as honestly and lovingly as we can and that is age appropriate for him.

Posted by ML123456 on May 19, 2017 at 2:46pm

Reply to this thread

You must be logged in to reply. To login, click here. Not a member? Join AdoptiveFamiliesCircle today. It's free and easy!


Find an Adoption Agency

Find an Adoption Attorney or Agency

Search the full directory ►