Every human grapples with the same question, “Who am I?” We also tend to wonder, “Where did I come from?” One of the keys to developing our individual identities is understanding our background, our history and why we are the way we are.
For non-adoptees, this curiosity usually manifests through an understanding of our family story or researching our lineage; how often do we get pulled into the mysteries of completing our family tree? But for adoptees, developing an identity can be much more challenging.
For many years, researchers and social workers believe that adoptees would benefit the most when told of their adoption between the ages of 4-13. However, the most recent research has shown quite the opposite. Instead, we’ve learned that children who were told of their adoption after the age of three experienced more emotional discomfort and overall lower satisfaction with life, compared to those who learned of their adoption earlier in life.
At CCS we often get the question, “How early should we tell our child that he is adopted?” Our response: “On the way home from the hospital.”
Adopted children should never be able to point to a time when they remember first learning they were adopted. Instead, their adoption story should be a natural, omnipresent fact in their life.