When is the right time to tell your adopted child that he is not your own?

Philippines
December 4, 2009 12:51am CST
My first cousin and her husband can never have a child of their own. My cousin took as their own, the lovechild of an office mate's married househelper and her boyfriend. The child is now 12 years old and the couple had never told her about the fact that she is, in fact, an adopted child. Do you find it important to tell the child about this fact? When do you consider it right to tell him about this?
10 responses
• United States
7 Dec 09
Telling a child that they are adopted is a really hard part if adoption. My mom has cutudy of my niece and my mom is not going to tell her till she thinks my sister is ready. I think the child is ready for her parents to tell her just do it really lovingly and make sure they tell her that they really love her like she is biological and it dose not change a thing she is there daughter and will always be ther for her. They just need to0 make sure they tell her becouse if they dont and she finds out later on in life she might get really mad that they did not tell her. I hope this helps you out. Happy Mylotting
• Philippines
8 Dec 09
Hi, wynters. That is really a tough task to do. My cousin who stays with us in the city for the weekdays because of her job, arrived yesterday for the present working week. I told her about my starting a discussion on the situation of her adopted daughter. I told her NOW is the right time to tell her daughter about it because she is already 12 years old. Years ago, I remember telling her to inform the daughter about the matter of her adoption, the child being younger at that time. Now, she is telling me that I be the one do it ... telling her daughter. Hahahaha, I just laughed it off. Told her that is not my job and it wouldn't feel right if I be the one to do it or anyone else. My cousin said that it is so hard to do it. And I told her that it would be harder later on, especially if the daughter hears a lot of things from friends. Thanks for sharing. Have a nice day.
• Philippines
6 Dec 09
This is very difficult you know, i think it would be very painful to the child as well as to the couple, but the child has to know. I think the right time would be during puberty stage, that is from ten to twelve years old. The child should be assured that even though he is adopted, he is loved like their real child.
• Philippines
6 Dec 09
I agree with you. The child should know by now. At least at this age, he/she would already understand. Though how hard it is, this has to be done. The child should be assured that he/she is loved and that he/she was chosen to be their own and not anybody else. Thanks, triplejazzm! God bless!
@madteaparty (2763)
• Japan
5 Dec 09
I think that everyone has the right to know the truth about his or her origins, so the kid should be told about it as soon as he or she's old enough to comprehend it. We can't be overprotective with kids, as it can end up damaging them. Also, the more someone waits to tell his or her kid about this kind of matter, the more difficult will be for the kid to accept it.
• Philippines
5 Dec 09
Hi, madteaparty. I very well agree with you. The time to advise the child is now. My cousin really needs to decide now as it would become more harder for her to do it at a later date. She kept on postponing telling the child because as she told me, she does not want to hurt the child. I think it is just a matter of how it is done and assuring the child about their love and care for her. It will be more difficult if the child hears it from other people.
@vera5d (3958)
• United States
5 Dec 09
It's hard what to say - knowing the child's real parents probably would even complicate it further. I think it's important for kids to know they are adopted, simply for medical background/history information - and to get that info from the biological parents would definitely be a good idea if they are still in contact with them. I think at 12 years old, it would be a major shock, probably pretty upsetting and difficult. The kid would feel betrayed, confused, unsettled - so it's really all about how it is explained. I would probably advise talking to the people who know the child the best and maybe even talking with a counselor to see how they suggest to tell them. Basically, the child needs to know - but the HOW they find out is the most important. And what details you decide to give the child is another option - I don't think I'd go into the whole drama story of the biological parents, but instead focus on how they wanted what was best for the kid, and how the adoptive parents really wanted them. But like I said, I am no expert :) Best of luck to them :)
• Philippines
5 Dec 09
Hi, vera. I agree that it is so important to know about the child's medical background/history information. Or maybe that of the biological parents. The biological mother just delivered the baby when this was "given" to my cousin. So, as an infant up to this time, my cousin is practically knowledgeable about the child's medical history. There might come a time in the future that the medical history or background of the biological parents are needed in relation to the child. My cousin's hesitation and the attempts to try to advise the child might be more on her foreseeing how it is explained to the child and the possible effects it may bring. But, my cousin really needs to do it. I agree that it should have been long before, so she should do it now.
• Philippines
5 Dec 09
I think the child should be told as early as possible. The right age depends on each child. Other children mature earlier than others. It is important for the child to know about his being an adopted one. He shouldn't be denied of this truth. Then, it will helpful to state the reason why he was adopted. I really don't know the proper or legal way but this is just my point of view.
• Philippines
5 Dec 09
I think so, too. I have told my cousin over and over again. But it seems she is finding it hard to do it. I know the child is mature enough to understand. The couple has successfully reared the child to be a good person. I will mention this thing again to my cousin. Thanks and have a nice day.
@bellis716 (4807)
• United States
4 Dec 09
I would NEVER tell a child he is not their own. However, I would tell him that he is not their biological child, but an adopted one. An adopted child is legally and hopefully emotionally, their child just as much as a biological child.
• Philippines
5 Dec 09
You are right, bellis. Personally, too, I think that being an adopted child does not really matter. Aside from the fact that he is not a biological child, he has grown to be our own from the moment he was adopted. In this case, the couple got the child when she was still an infant, in fact, had registered themselves as parents in the local civil registrar. I should tell the child NOW about this fact.
@bellis716 (4807)
• United States
4 Dec 09
Yes, any child should be told from the beginning that he/she was adopted. This prevents any hurt feelings when he does find out. As old as the child is now,I would tell him or her immediately. I would also tell him that they were unable to have biological children but wanted a child badly. He will probably ask why his biological mother didn't want to keep him. I believe that it would be safe to tell him that she was not married to his father and let it go at that. A child who knows from the beginning that he was adopted will grow up feeling safe and secure as long as his adoptive parents emphasize that he was truly wanted.
• Philippines
5 Dec 09
I agree with you. I have since told my cousin to tell the child as early as possible. This could have been done when the child was still younger. The couple now finds it difficult to tell the child. I am worried if the child learns about the fact from friends in school or at play. It would be harder for the couple to deal with it when being asked by the child whether what the child heard is true or not. I will tactfully bring this matter again to my cousin. Thanks, bellis.
@maximax8 (27049)
4 Dec 09
I think telling a child he or she is adopted would be best when he or she is emotionally ready to get that knowledge. Some adopted children would be able to find out at four or five years old. Another child might not be ready until the teenage years. Your cousin's child is almost a teenager. I hope that he will receive the new happily. Good luck to your cousin. It is right that your cousin tells her son. She could say that she chose him to be her child.
• Philippines
4 Dec 09
Thanks, maximax. I am sorry to have confused you about the child's gender by using both pronouns "she" and "him" in error. The child is a female. I think anytime now the child is ready to accept that news. I can see that the child has grown to be a very good girl and the couple has successfully reared her to be that. I can see that she is emotionally prepared and sees her to be even mature compared to her age. I just hope my cousin finds the chance to tell the child about this. It would surely be a load off their minds if that has been done.
@advokatku (4039)
• Indonesia
4 Dec 09
one of problem the adoption of a child is tell the child about her status as child of adoptive. This is an obligation that must be done by foster parents. This is in accordance with the law and the rights child of adoptive. He was entitled to know its origins. Only, it takes time. Could be explained since the early or vote if he was growing up. Each choice brings different consequences. Obviously, the adoptive parents and the foster child must be ready mentally. Not easy to do. Many foster parents who open secret at the time child will enter the stage marriage. The reason, he's an adult. Harbored a secret just is not easy. Moreover plus anxiety, it will make the inner pressure. Very probably it will affect mental. As a result, maybe someday you'll cousins would like thunderstruck at noon when she heard his adopted son asked, ''Mom, she said I'm not your child ?'' Much better if your cousin can be honest from start. Of course your cousin will feel happier because she not have feel a sense of anxiety. In fact, if necessary, introduce him closer to his family and his brothers. Although officially has become a child your cousin, he right to know who's brother and his biological parents. Also do not forget, explain the reason why he had to be adopted. That way, your cousin was not a loss for the right time to reveal a secret she held for so long.
• Philippines
4 Dec 09
From what you said, I understand that it would be when both the foster parents and the adopted child are emotionally ready. I agree with you. My cousin had been trying to find a time to tell the child about her (child is a female, sorry for my confusing use of pronoun "she" and "him") status. My cousin tells us that she does not really know how to start to do it, but admits that she is finding an opportunity to do it. I hope she does it sooner.
@happy2512 (1266)
• Philippines
4 Dec 09
It is important to inform the child that he is adopted its better if the parents are the one who inform him so that they can explain well why h is adopted. He should be inform at the right age where he can understand why it happen to him. They should be the first to do it than anybody else.
• Philippines
4 Dec 09
Yes, it is very important to inform the child about his adoption. Our problem or our concern now is WHEN is it considered right time to tell him about it? When is the right age then? I hope the biological mother shows up and do a brave and daring act of telling the child. But to me, it seems that she is no longer interested to do that. She has been formerly married to a man who is not the father of the adopted child.