Considering adoption for your baby? Call or text us today. 317-255-5916

Being an adoptive parent

We know you’re going to be great parents. At Adoption Support Center, our goal is to make you become great adoptive parents. By dedicating yourself to being a lifelong learner of all things adoption, you’ll set yourself up for success in this unique and complex type of parenthood.

While our team will always be here to help you, your child and their birth family, this page explores healthy practices for the modern adoptive family. We’ll explore how to talk about adoption, how to support your child’s identity as an adopted person, and how to incorporate their birth family into your daily life.

Making adoption a normal conversation

One of the things we hear from adoptive parents is “We’ll talk about adoption or their birth family when my child brings it up or asks questions.” They raise their children to “know they’re adopted,” but after a certain point the adoptive parents get complacent and simply stop bringing it up.

As an adoptive parent, your attitude about adoption will shape your child’s attitude about it. If adoption isn’t part of everyday conversations in your household, it becomes a taboo subject. It’s on you to bring up those topics so they don’t go unspoken.
Create a spirt of openness

Create a spirit of openness

At ASC, we encourage adoptive families to create an intentional “spirit of openness” in their home. This means giving adoptees a safe space to open up and feel comfortable sharing their feelings and questions about their adoption.

Just because your adopted child doesn’t ask doesn’t mean they don’t want to talk about it or aren’t curious. A child can’t always identify what they’re feeling, or have the words to express it. Even if they can put a finger on it, they may be afraid of hurting you or making you upset.

Adoption is a mindset and an open heart. We can help you make conversations about adoption part of your everyday relationship with your child, and cultivate a spirit of openness where your adoptee can thrive.
How do I find the right words?

How do I find the right words?

The world of adoption has changed so much over the years. As you read, listen and follow for information along your adoption journey, you’ll run into language that’s new to you, and language that’s outdated.
When your child starts to understand language, they’ll pick up on the terminology you use to talk about them and their background as an adopted person. The best way to “lock in” these positive terms and phrases about adoption is to start using them today.
Instead of saying this…
Say this instead.
Why the change?
Gave up for adoption
Gave the baby away
Placed for adoption
Chose adoption
Expectant moms who choose adoption aren’t “giving away” or “giving up” their child. They were empowered to choose an option that made sense for them and their child.
The birth mom
Our birth mom
[your child’s name]’s birth mom

First mom

Family of origin

The person who gave birth to your child is a woman with a name and an identity. Saying “the” birth mom disconnects your child from that fact, and from their relationship to her. Also, she is your child’s birth mother — not yours, not “ours.”
Your birth mom
[use her name in conversation]
“We’re going to visit Sarah next Saturday. This will be so exciting for her to see how much you’ve grown!”
She decided to keep the baby
She decided to parent
Just like a woman doesn’t choose to “give up” their baby for adoption, their other choice is not to “keep” their baby. The decision to place a child for adoption or to parent them are both viable choices.
Fall in your lap adoption
Surprise adoption
Every baby comes from somewhere. “Fall in your lap” removes the child’s birth mother from the equation.
Open/closed adoption
Adoption with/without contact
The amount of contact you’ll have with your child’s birth family isn’t all or nothing. You’ll work out a level of contact that works for all parties.
Real mom/dad/family
Birth or biological mom/dad/family, or Family of origin, or First family

Adoptive mom/dad/family
An adopted child has two families — neither one of them are more “real” than the other.
The meaning of family

Honoring your child’s birth family

Your adopted child will grow up around your family, made of your relatives and your partner’s, your community, your beliefs, interests and values. But just as it was important for you to have a biological connection with a child you tried to conceive, it’s equally important for your adopted child to have a biological connection with their birth parents.

Your child’s birth family deserves room in your child’s everyday life — even if you aren’t in contact with them right now. Here are some simple ways to incorporate your child’s birth family into your family’s routine.

Display photos of your child’s birth family around the house.

You’ve probably got photos of your parents, siblings, cousins, aunts and uncles, and grandparents around your home. Same for your partner. Those people are all part of your adopted child’s family — but so are the people they share DNA with. Make sure they have some space in your home, too.

Make a special night to write to your child’s birth mom.

Even if you’re not in contact with her right now, writing messages to your child’s birth mom is an important ritual. You can make it a special event by ordering pizza and talking about the quarter or year as a family, including your child in the conversation.

Celebrate the birthdays you know.

If you know your child’s birth mom’s birthday, celebrate it in a real way. Instead of just talking about it, make it an excuse to go get a birthday cake or buy a gift you think she would like. You can make a donation in her honor to a place that empowers women and is supportive of adoption. Some adoptive families donate to the place where she received her free pregnancy test or the food pantry in her hometown.

Give your adopted child space on their birthday.

Birthdays can be difficult for adoptees. They may get sad or wonder if their birth mom is thinking about them. Some see this as a day of grief, because it marks when they lost connection to their birth family. They might not be able to articulate those feelings, either. We’ve found it best to give adoptees space on this unique day. You may want to add a candle to their birthday cake honoring their birth mom, and encourage them to say her name openly.

Simply bring up your child’s birth family in conversation.

For example, “Your laugh brightens up the room. I bet your birth mom has the same effect on people.” Or, “You’re so silly when you play, you’re acting just like your brother Jason right now.”

If you’re religious or spiritual, pray for all the names you know.

For example, “We pray that Grandma is in good health and that the nurses are taking good care of her.” Or, “We pray that Mama Sabrina will reach out some day so we can all meet her.”
If you need help navigating the relationship with your child’s birth family, our team has your back.
Your child’s birth family
How do I find the right words?

Your child has lifelong support at ASC

Being an adoptee is part of your child’s identity, and we’re here to support it. As your child grows, they’ll find full support from our team, just as you and your partner will.
Your child can count on:
  • A referral to therapy and counseling
  • Materials they can read, listen to and follow
  • Groups and organizations they can join to become part of the adoptee community
  • Help navigating the relationship with your family or their birth family
  • Information on why they were placed for adoption
  • Help reuniting with their birth family if they’re over 21, or if they have your permission

See for yourself how we’ll stand by your adopted child.
Support for adoptees