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Talking with Your Kids about the Hard Issues with Adoption (Rape, Drugs, Prison, Corruption, Etc.)

Highlights from January 11, 2012 Creating a Family radio show

Adoption always happens in less than ideal circumstances, but some are harder to tell children than others.  Should we tell our children about rape, drug abuse, or physical abuse that may be a part of their birth family's history? How do we explain poverty so extreme that a family is forced to place a child for adoption?  How do we handle the possibility of corruption or fraud that happened in their birth country?  How should we tell, how much should we tell, and when should we tell? Join our guests Marilyn Rich, District Supervisor and Adoption Social Worker at Adoptions from the Heart with over 15 years of experience in adoption, and Rebecca Hackworth, Director of Social Services Dillon International.

  • Adoption by its very nature involved hard choices and loss, but some situations are more complex to explain to children and many parents wonder if they should tell.
  • How do you help your child realize that their existence is worthy of celebration even if their conception story is not ideal or their birth parents made poor choices that resulted in their conception?
  • How do you share hard details of your adopted child’s story without damaging their self-esteem?
  • What are the dangers of telling too much too soon?
  • What age should you start talking to your children about the tougher issues of loss, bad decisions, etc. involved with their adoption story?
  • Who is best to talk with children about difficult birth family history or information?
  • How can you help your child realize what information they should share with others and what information they should keep private?
  • Rape. Should you tell your child that he was conceived through rape? How to you share this information with a child? How old should your child be when you tell?
  • Does it make a difference when talking with an adopted child about her conception if it was from stranger rape, incest, or date rape?
  • How do you share with your child information on their birth parent’s drug and alcohol abuse? How old should your child be?
  • How do you share with your child information on their birth parent’s incarceration? How old should your child be? Should you tell your adopted child what crime their birth mother or birth father committed?
  • How do you share information with your child about the extreme poverty of their birth country and birth family without putting an undue burden on the child?
  • In some adoption situations and in some countries, female children are less valued and more often placed for adoption or abandoned. How do you share this information with your child? What are some resources you can use to help explain the Chinese one-child policy.
  • If the adopted parents do not know the whole story as to why their child was placed for adoption or abandoned, how much should they speculate when telling the story to their child? Is it always best to tell the full truth?
  • How do you talk about the fact that your child was abandoned or placed for adoption because of a physical deformity or special need?
  • Should you talk to your children about the possibility of adoption corruption in their birth country?
  • What age should you talk about the possibility of adoption fraud? How should you address it?
  • How to talk about birth parents that abused your child before adoption?

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Creating a Family and in particular your radio show has been a lifeline to me over the past 2+ years. In the privacy of my home/car I have been connected with others whose family-building has been challenged and I have had access to invaluable information from experts that have helped us make better decisions. Thank you! ~ S. Potter

Creating a Family was such a great resource for me throughout the adoption, I remember even blogging about it the first time I discovered the radio show because I was so excited! I continue to benefit from your the shows even now, one year post adoption. Thank you for the good and important work you are doing. ~ A. Oliver

I just wanted to say thank you so much for this resource, I just recently found it and I just happened to stumble upon it doing a google search.  It has been hugely helpful!!!! We've been looking into foster care and adoption and listening to the various radio shows relating to those topics have really helped us know what to do and what to expect..more  ~J. Joy

I just wanted to stop in and say a quick thank you for all the support and information you provide the adoption/infertility community... I also am a "research junkie", and your blogs & podcasts have been an invaluable source for us on our journey to grow our family. more ~ E. Meyer

I wanted to thank you for all of the wonderful things you do. We brought our beautiful baby boy home from the hospital on April 2nd. While we waited for an adoption match and then waited for his birth, your podcast and website were a continuous reminder that we were part of an amazing adoption community. It really helped us not feel alone.  ~Sarah S.

I listen to your radio shows daily on my iPod while cleaning, exercising, driving etc. I've learned so much from it, that today in the foster- adopt support group I felt like an all knowing expert, despite the fact, that I have zero experience in the field. Thank you for a wonderful resource! I am spreading the word. ~G. Longley

Thank you so much for your radio show! I was just listening to it, and it's very informative. My husband and I are in the process of adoption, so we read a lot to be able to make informed decisions. Your website is a great resource for us! ~N.M.W.

“I learned more from this show than from two Reproductive Endocrinologist and all my own research. I appreciate the professionals you have on your show.” ~ L. Upton

I LOVE your show, it's the most helpful, unbiased information I’ve found about infertility and adoption and I'm so thankful for you and your organization. Keep up the fantastic work, you are changing lives. ~ Amanda

So I would like to introduce to you....Z. V.. She is now 11 weeks old. She came from a lovely perfect little frozen embryo, from our 4th round of IVF (2 fresh cycles and 2 FET)...more  ~A. Houston

I'm just writing to say that I've downloaded another bunch of your podcasts onto my iPhone and while I listen to them on my daily commute I silently
thank you for doing such a good job and conducting such brilliant interviews!!!...
more   ~G. Marino

Although you don't know us from Adam, I wanted to drop a line and thank you for the amazing info, sound advice, and encouragement you offer to adoptive and prospective adoptive parents.  We just received our pre-approval for our daughter, W, from China!  You (in book, website, blog, and podcast form) have been there every step of the way in this journey.  ~ J. & C. Morningstar

I just wanted to drop you a note and tell you how much I love your show. I recently got an iPhone and have been listening to them on iTunes. Your "What Adopted Teens Want Their Parents to Know" session was amazing!!!          ~A. Watson

My husband and I are parents through adoption to THE three most incredible children in the world. All via newborn domestic transracial.  I wanted to tell you how much I’ve enjoyed and benefitted from your web site.  I often refer potential adoptive parents who ask me for advice to your site. I especially enjoy your radio shows and today’s show on "Knowing When to Move from Infertility to Adoption" particularly resonated with me. ~N. Ferrari

I have loved, loved this radio show. It has been hands down the most helpful resource on this often painful and confusing journey. ~ R. Butler

I have been listening to lots of your radio shows of late. Great guests and very enlightening always. Thanks so much for keeping us up with the latest.  ~ W. & M. Welch

I just wanted you to know what a tremendous resource and blessing your podcasts have been to my wife and I as we prepare to travel early next month to pick up our new 17 month old son from Colombia...more
~ M. & L. Oakes

I just wanted to share my story since Creating a Family pod casts were so helpful to me when I was infertile. It really helped knowing I wasn't alone and could get the most updated information on my condition. I am almost 32 years old and I have been trying to get pregnant for 6 long years...more ~ J. Mendenhall


You are the REAL DEAL—Thank you for your guidance, radio show, information, knowledge, resources, care & wisdom to know what is needed when.     ~ S. Miller 

We are awaiting the arrival of our child from Ethiopia. I recently took a road trip and downloaded 9 hours of the Creating a Family podcasts and listened to them all. I learned so much. Thanks.        ~J. Madine 

Just home from adopting our son in Colombia. He and we are doing great. Your site and especially podcasts were a tremendous resource to us personally, as well as for a reason we didn't ever expect...more  

~ M. and L. Oakes




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