When you share your plans to adopt, there’s a good chance that you will hear lots of opinions and advice. And once in the process, you will go through 10 or more hours of training to help prepare you for the unique experience of parenting an adopted child. But when it comes to connecting with your child, some of the best advice you will hear will come from adoptees themselves.
Below, we share 7 pieces of advice from Holt adoptees Hannah, Taylor* and Alex*. Whether you are about to adopt — or are now home with your child — thoughts and insights from adult adoptees can help you build a stronger relationship with your child, and empower you to help your child build a healthy adoptee identity.
Hannah, 22, adoptee from South Korea
- If your child is a transracial adoptee, find ways to engage with their identity more than just cultural education.
- You won’t always be able to relate to your child, but letting them know you are there regardless is important.
- Make efforts to have adoption as a topic in discussion, but if your child doesn’t want to engage, let it go. Check in from time to time, but it is their decision to talk about it.
- Incorporate talking about the first (birth) family as much as you can, but don’t make stuff up. If you don’t know, just humbly say it.
- When talking about your child’s adoption story, tell the truth, regardless. Even if the truth is upsetting. Better known than unknown.
Taylor, 24, adoptee from China
- Be comfortable with being uncomfortable. Adoption is not a black and white issue; rather, it is extremely grey, therefore conversations or questions that may be difficult to answer or think about are not necessarily a bad thing, but rather something to be encouraged and processed.
Alex, 26, adoptee from South Korea
- Adoptees deserve to know the truth about their story and the reasons behind their adoption, both personal and cultural. Don’t hide things from your child because you’re scared … You won’t always know what’s best for your child. Be open-minded and allow your child to grow in a safe and supportive place.