There is no accord among childcare specialists as to when it is best to tell children they are adopted. This uncertainty is upsetting to some adoptive parents. However, most parents sense when the child is ready for this information. The Group for Advancement of Psychiatry indicates that "the most natural time to bring adoption up is when the child asks where babies come from. The child can then be told that he came from the uterus of another woman".
There are professionals in the field who think the years between seven and ten are a propitious time to tell a child of her adoption and to assist her in accepting it. Other professionals suggest early discussion and recognition of the adoption; i.e., as soon as the parents are ready to talk about it and think their child will be able to understand and adapt to the fact.
Although the optimum time for both the child and the parents remains an individual parental decision, parents need to make sure that they are helping their adoptee to build
secure feelings about his identity and about why he was adopted.
Everyone in agreement that a child's introduction to the fact of adoption should be presented in the affectionate atmosphere of his/her home. The child must never learn the news from taunting peers or in other distressful ways later on.
According to Dr. David M. Brodzinsky, child psychologist at Douglass College in new Brunswick, New Jersey, "The adoption revelation process is a stressful event. Parents are afraid of questions the child might rise, such as "Why did mommy give me up? The parents feel that the sooner they get it over with, the better. They terminate the dialogue too early because they think the child understands before he really does." Research indicates that abruptly or permanently closing the discussion about a child's adoption may create problems.
Very young children do not understand what adoption is. When they say they are adopted, they are just mouthing words. Child psychologists believe that a child has to know something about the birth process as well as what it means to be part of a family in order to understand something about adoption. However, even a gradual, straight-forward explanation of the process of adoption may not satisfy an adopted child. For example, a five-year-old may want to know why her biological parents gave her up for adoption. Dr. Brodzinsky and other child specialists think this may be an unresolved question that adoptee ask themselves throughout their lives. Actually, in many cases, the"acceptance of adoption is not complete unless a person becomes a biological parent himself."