The topic for yesterday’s Creating a Family show—Talking with Children about Adoption at Different Ages and Developmental Stages– is near and dear to my heart on a professional level and makes me squirm just a bit on the personal level. It’s all fine and good to talk about what to say about adoption and how to do it, but what if your child doesn’t ask questions. What if your child shows precious little interest when you bring up the topic? And what if, let’s just say in this hypothetical example, you’re an adoption educator who is supposed to know how to talk with kids about adoption, but can’t get one of her own to talk?
We tell parents that they must talk about adoption with their children. We tell them that if they adopt a child of a different race, they must talk about race. (Although arguably all parents should talk about race regardless whether their family is monochromatic or rainbow hued.) As Debbie Riley, adoption therapist extraordinaire, Director of the Center for Adoption Support and Education, and guest on yesterday’s Creating a Family show, said (paraphrased from my notes): “Adoptive parents don’t have the luxury of waiting until their kids ask questions about adoption. Their role is different; they must talk about adoption even if their kids don’t ask because they must help their kids understand what adoption means.”