As the years pass, your child will become more concerned about his place in your family. This may be especially true around ages 9 through 12, when most children become very worried about appearance and fitting in. Your child may begin to ask questions about his own appearance, his background, and the adoption and its circumstances. The following are some common questions your child may ask:

· "Did I grow in your body, Mommy?"

· "Why did my birth mother give me away?"

· "Did she and my birth father love each other?"

· "What was my name before I was adopted?"

· "What nationality am I?"

· "Do I have brothers or sisters?"

· "How much did it cost to adopt me?"

Do your best to answer questions honestly and in a way that will be easy for your child to understand at his age. They may be painful questions for you to think about, but it is normal for children who are adopted to ask them. It is important to develop trust between you and your child. The more your child trusts you, the easier it will be for him to come to you with questions.

If your child feels that talking about these questions makes you uncomfortable, he may keep them inside. He may then wonder, imagine and perhaps fear the worst. Your child also may seek the answers elsewhere, perhaps from a relative or friend who may not give accurate information. Dealing with these issues openly is very important for your child. Be honest and as informative as you can. You may not know the answers for some questions. Be honest about that too.

Avoid responding with your own worries like "Why do you want to know?" or "Are you unhappy with our family?" Your child's curiosity is healthy and natural. It should not be discouraged or seen as a threat to you — it's normal. Questioning your child's loyalties may only confuse her further. If your child believes talking about her adoption will hurt you, she will avoid it.

Don't force the issue on your child. Some children are curious from the very beginning. Others may be afraid to bring it up. The best you can do is create an atmosphere in the family that lets your child know it is OK to talk about adoption. In a loving, supportive environment, when your child is ready to know more, she will ask.

Early on, many parents find themselves dealing with the question of who the child's "real" or "natural" parents are. Relatives or friends may ask if you have met the child's "real" parents. Your child himself may even ask about his "real" mother or father. Let your child know that the words mother and father have more than one meaning.

A mother is someone who gives birth to a child, but a mother is also someone who loves, nurtures and guides a child to adulthood. She takes care of the child's needs every day, changes the diapers, and dries the tears. Being a father also can have different meanings.

Find other words that everyone in your family is comfortable with. The terms birth mother and father are very common. Biological parents also is used frequently. Remember, both sets of parents are "real" and deserve to be recognized for who they are and the roles they have played in the child's life.

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