How to Tell a Young Child That He is Adopted

Every now and then I hear conversations about whether it is wise to tell a young child that he is adopted. We have five adopted boys who are maternal brothers. There are no secrets. I tell the story of his adoption to our four year old several times a week at bed time.

I follow the Old Testament practice of telling children how God has blessed them over and over again. The next time that you read through the Bible, count how many times that the story is told of Israel’s deliverance from Egypt. God likes to get his point across by repetition. Here is what I say:

“A long time ago, Daddy and Mommy decided that they wanted a baby. They had three children, but they had grown up, and Daddy and Mommy missed having a baby. So they called Miss Ruby (our adoption agency worker) and said, “Miss Ruby, we want a baby.” And Miss Ruby knows how to find babies that need a Mommy and Daddy, so she started looking for one.”

“One day, we were driving with Mimi Wilda (our realtor) to look for a house to live in and the phone rang and it was Miss Ruby. Guess what she said? (Here, Caleb chimes in saying that she found a baby boy and his name was Caleb.) Mommy and Daddy were so excited about Baby Caleb.”

“Two days later, there was a knock on our door and a lady was there with a baby wrapped up in a blanket. Mommy took him and pulled back the blanket and there was Baby Caleb. He was so small (I demonstrate with my hands.). Mommy just held him and cried because she was so happy. When Daddy came home, he was very happy too.”

“Baby Caleb was so beautiful and sweet. When he cried at night, he sounded like a kitty cat. Daddy kept wondering where that cat was, but Mommy said that it was Baby Caleb.”

“Baby Caleb was very sick, but we took him to the doctor and he saw Baby Caleb and cried because Baby Caleb was so sick. But the doctor gave us medicine for baby Caleb and we took care of him and loved him.”

“Baby Caleb got well and today he is a big, strong, handsome boy that his Daddy and Mommy love very much. His four brothers have also come to live in Caleb’s house. When Daddy and Mommy pray, they thank God for giving them Baby Caleb and his brothers.”

“Today, Baby Caleb is four years old and so we call him Big Boy Caleb. We are very proud of our big boy.”

I have tried to emphasize to him how much we wanted him and how much we love him. My parents told me things when I was growing up that really set in my mind over the years. We are doing the same thing with Caleb and his brothers.

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