When Do You Tell Your Child The Truth? According to child psychologist Boots Mendoza, there is no perfect age for children to be told they are adopted, although being forthright with them while they’re young is the ideal scenario.
You can give the truth piecemeal depending on how you think your child can process the information. If the child is showing signs of emotional stability and maturity, then you can start opening the topic.
Eventually, however, parents should be prepared for the consequences of their decision to disclose or conceal the adoption.
“Establish trust and emphasize your love for them and the fact that they are no different from their siblings,“ Mendoza underscores.
“Parents should also explain the situation and circumstances when they were adopted, and why their biological parents decided to give them up.”
Indeed, the child will have a clearer sense of self if and when the truth is given to them.
Searching For Biological Parents According to Mendoza, the decision on whether or not the adoptive parents should allow their adopted children to search for their biological parents varies from case to case.
The Domestic Adoption Law The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) and other concerned non-government organizations have started doing advocacy work since 1998, when the Domestic Adoption Law was passed, says Rosario Dela Rosa,executive director of Kaisahang Buhay Foundation, a non-government child and family welfare organization.
The policy ensures the safety and protection not only of the adopted child, but also of the adoptive parents, also aiming to safeguard the biological parent or parents from making any hurried decisions to relinquish parental authority over the child.
If a child has had no parental care or guardianship for six consecutive months, it is the duty of the DSWD or the child caring agency that has custody of the child to exert all efforts to find the child’s biological parents. Otherwise, the child is then given under the care of the DSWD or the non-government agency looking after him.
According to Dela Rosa, it takes approximately a year before a prospective parent can legally adopt a child. It is a long process that involves matching the parents and the child, counseling, a trial custody, court hearings, and another six months or so for the court to legalize the adoption. Add to this the pre-adoption forums and various inquiries the prospective adoptive parents must go through.
Once adoption is finalized, legal ties between biological parent and child are severed. The Domestic Adoption The adopted child is then considered a legitimate son or daughter entitled to “all the rights and obligations provided by law to legitimate sons or daughters born to them.
Sources: l Boots Mendoza, Ph.D., psychologist l Rosario dela Rosa, executive director, Kaisahang Buhay Foundation l “Adopting a Child: A Special Calling For Our Times,” article by Maria Bonifacio and Alicia Belen