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6 tips for telling people you’re adopted

Published: April 22, 2016

For young adopted people, it’s often difficult to decide when and with whom to share their life story.  

The Adoptables  (peer network of adoptees aged 13-25) wrote this guide for teenage adoptees. 

Six tips for telling people you’re adopted

When we are at Primary school, we tend to be a lot more open with information and usually, school staff already know that we are adopted through our parents without us saying anything directly to them. At a younger age, we can sometimes give out too much information about our personal story. Often, our peers may not really understand what adoption means or the impact their words on the subject may have on us, and this can lead to bullying.

This can leave us with mixed emotions about sharing things with people and can begin to build up a trust wall.

The transition from primary to secondary gives us a chance at a fresh start, once again, and this time we may want to be more selective in who knows what.

Use your support network – They can help us decide who we should tell and who we shouldn’t. And when the time is right, they can also help us decide what to say.

Adoption is your personal story – Not everyone needs to know everything.Where possible, make sure you have thought about why you want to share this information with others.

Plan what you want to say, and perhaps more than one way of saying it – This way you won’t be caught off guard and will know how to approach the conversation every time it comes around.

Be prepared for some questions – Some common ones are:

Does that mean your parents didn’t want you? What is it like being adopted?

Do you speak to your birth parents? And here’s a funny one… How long are you adopted for?

You don’t have to answer all the questions – Just step back and think, and remember, when you’re not comfortable you can simply say ‘I don’t want to answer that question’. Those that care about you should understand and respect that.

Tell people you truly trust – Remember, we slowly build up trust with new people, trust takes time and there is no need to rush it. Go at your own pace.

The Adoptables is run by children’s charity Coram and funded by the Queen’s Trust. 

Read more blogs by The Adoptables here 



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