More than two million children in the United States today are living with their adopted families. The process and laws surrounding adoptions in Missouri and the rest of the country have changed from decades ago when there was no way for adopted children and their biological parents to ever know each other. Records were sealed and that was that.
Back in the early to middle part of the 20th century, very few children were adopted through private agencies. And international adoption was unheard of. Many times children were never told they were adopted. Today, professionals suggest telling children as soon as possible that they are adopted. There should not be any stigma attached to adoption and it’s important children develop with a positive attitude.
Using the proper words
Using the right words associated with adoption from the start is extremely important — words like adopted, adoption, foster care, kinship care, biological family, birth family, etc. Sharing their adoption story with adopted children is essential. Here are some other things to do for children who are adopted:
- Start a life book for them.
- Tell them it was not their fault that they were placed with another family, that they aren’t bad or unworthy.
- Explain how their birth parents couldn’t care for them and what they did was for their best interests and out of love and concern.
- Explain that their birth parents chose to place them for adoption – not put up or given up for adoption.
- Talk to children at an age-appropriate level.
Those preparing for adoptions in Missouri need to know as much about the process as possible, including the legalities. Adoption is life-changing for a child and for everyone involved. It is serious as it is wonderful to welcome a child into the family.