From the Scholastic Bookshelf: How to Talk to Your Child About Adoption

Consider this perspective — adoption is the gift of becoming a family.

Jan 19, 2022



From the Scholastic Bookshelf: How to Talk to Your Child About Adoption

Jan 19, 2022

Welcoming a new member into your home is an exciting time for your family, and the conversations that you have with your child about adoption should center on having loving, supportive parents who are there for them in every way they need.

If you’re a parent to an adopted kid, experts recommend that conversations about adoption start as soon as the child arrives in the home. Parents should have honest discussions and be open to answer questions as they come up. 

For those who aren’t adopted but know adopted children through school or friendship circles, the discussion starts off similarly: This child was born to different parents, but those parents could not care for them in the way they needed, so the child was placed with parents who could.

Adoptive parents are responsible for deciding how many age-appropriate details of the adoption story to share with their child. 

For example, young children may not understand the concept of having new parents but can grasp that they are in a safe and welcoming environment. Older children may be more curious about their birth parents. However, it’s important that parents don’t wait for the child to express curiosity about their adoption story; parents who bring it up show that they’re not ashamed of the decision and are willing to talk about it at any time.

For its 100th anniversary, Scholastic spoke with experts to identify a set of tips, articles, and books that make starting a conversation with your child about adoption easier. These resources are part of a broader initiative, called the Scholastic Bookshelf, created for Instagram to raise awareness around contemporary issues affecting children today.

Conversations about adoption will change over time in tandem with the child’s physical and emotional growth. The following resources are recommended for children age 9 and above (about 3rd grade and up), but you can certainly read them together if you feel that it can help make your conversations about adoption more natural for your child.

For more quick tips and book recommendations, sign up for our Scholastic Parents newsletter! 

Articles About Adoption 

Millions of children in America live with someone other than their parents. “Finding Home” in Scholastic Choices magazine profiles three teens living in unique family situations: Lexi lives with her boyfriend’s parents, Jacob with his grandparents, and Tiara with a couple who adopted her after she spent several years in the foster care system. Their stories highlight the hope and happiness one arrives at after having found their chosen family.  

A similar message about love being the true definition of family can be found in “I Was Adopted,” from Scholastic Action magazine. Teen Marcus, who was adopted at birth, says his story has never been a secret. His adoptive parents have always been open with him about who his biological parents are and the adoption process. When Marcus discovers he has a biological half-sister — also adopted — with whom he shares the same father, Marcus’ adoptive mother agrees to accompany him on the trip to meet her. 

When asked whom he considers his “real parents,” Marcus says they’re the people who raised him for the past 15 years — his adoptive parents. 

“They’re the ones I live with and the ones I love,” he says. Marcus’ story is a brilliant example of the special bonds created by adoption — a process Marcus says he is “proud” to represent.

Fiction Books About Adoption

Readers will find an unforgettable character in Cleopatra Edison Oliver, a budding entrepreneur and adopted child. In Cleo Edison Oliver, Playground Millionaire by Sundee T. Frazier, Cleopatra opens a tooth-pulling business after her 5th grade teacher assigns a “passion project.” But her best-made plans are about to be met with some big challenges, and Cleo will discover new truths about herself in the process.

Exploring adoption from an adoptive sibling’s perspective, Coe Booth’s Kinda Like Brothers introduces readers to Jarrett and Kevon, who share a room but not much else. Jarrett was fine with his biological mother fostering babies. But when the baby comes with an older brother named Kevon, who acts like he’s better than Jarrett and harbors some major secrets, the two must figure out how to get along as very different people. It’s a novel about trust, family ties, and the routines we share when we live under the same roof.

Raise a Reader Blog
Age 13
Age 10
Age 12
Age 11
Age 9
Age 8
Age 7
Age 6
Age 5
Families and Relationships