Connecting with Your Incredible Adopted Child

Dear friends,

We adoptees look through glasses that are cracked by trauma and loss and oftentimes, it’s so hard to see. We need you as our journey mate. Here are some tips about entering the delicate world of your adopted kids:


  1. Acknowledge the reality of adoption from day one (with newborns, foster kids, adoptees). Talk realities!
  2. Initiate conversations about the child’s pre-adoption perceptions.
  3. Validate the adoptee’s identity by never speaking ill of the birth family. Show respect to the role of the parent but not the performance.
  4. Create a safe, non-judgmental place where the adoptee can freely express any thought or emotion. “I hate her.”
  5. Celebrate the differences between the adoptive and birth families that you see in your child.
  6. Be sensitive to the child’s unspoken need for a sense of connection to his past. A photo?
  7. Respect the adoptee’s ned to consider searching for birth relatives, or in an open adoption, for a “date” with birth mom or dad.
  8. Be emotionally present.
  9. Become an expert in helping your child learn how to regulate emotions. Tell her you want to stay and connect with her when she’s hurting.
  10. Learn how to play!


  1. Avoid the topic of adoption as long as possible. Hope that the child never asks about his/her past.
  2. Deny any differences between the adoptee and adoptive family. Tell child she fits right in because she looks like you.
  3. Correct any expression of uncomfortable emotions about adoption by “accentuating the positive.” Count your blessings. Be thankful.
  4. Pretend the adoptee’s life began on adoption day. Don’t mention the child’s birth or birth family.
  5. Enforce the unspoken “no talk rule” through various expressions of body language. A quivering lip or a shaky voice speak volumes. Staring with head down also effective.
  6. Take offense if the child uses words like “real parents.” Interpret them as a slam.
  7. Foster silent shame about the adoptee’s need to consider searching for the birth family. Sarcasm works great. Why not let sleeping dogs lie? Let bygones be bygones.
  8. Just pretend you’re really listening to child. “Lights on, but nobody home.”
  9. Avoid “doing your own emotional and spiritual healing work.” Don’t worry…it’s not about you. Really?
  10. Send your child away to room during temper tantrums.

Love to all as you parent those incredible kids!

Contact me anytime through this post.



Excerpt from Twenty Things Adopted Kids Wish Their Adoptive Parents Knew: Purchase here: Http:// 


2 comments to Connecting with Your Incredible Adopted Child

  • Nancy

    I am an adult adoptee with two grown biological children and a 13 year old son we adopted when he was almost 3. I have concerns about him mainly because he refuses to discuss his feelings about adoption and really has from the very beginning. I see his emotions come out but he won’t discuss how he feels or will even deny that he has any feelings in regards to his adoption at all. He has struggled with anxiety since we have known him but seemed to connect to us very quickly. Now as a teen he is angry/withdrawn at times and I don’t think he even knows why. He does very well in school, has friends and extra-curricular activities. Most of our friends or family think that this behavior is normal for a teenage boy but I am not so sure. I don’t want to create problems that are not there and he says he would not talk to a therapist. Do I have reason to be concerned? I feel it could be important to note that he has/does struggle with sensory issues and has had multiple surgeries (and more in the future) due to a birth defect.

    • It’s no wonder your son struggles with anxiety. I think many, many adoptees do because we’ve endured trauma to our brains and bodies. It doesn’t sound like he has much self-awareness? How are you doing with all of this as an adoptee?

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