Adoption is a delicate issue both for those who live the experience firsthand and for those around them. But how to talk about adoption at school and in the family? Here are the practical advice of the pedagogist Marta Stella Bruzzone and the psychologist and psychotherapist Sara Luna Bruzzone.
Adoption is a complex issue, which must be addressed taking into account from time to time the specificities of the child and the parents. «What is essential, however – explain the experts – is that the subject is dealt with in a relatively short time and in clear and transparent way: a serene account of this fact helps the child from a psychological and psychic point of view, also in view of a future socio-relational life ».
- Don’t improvise. To tackle the issue naturally and serenely, one cannot improvise: «The adoptive parents are afraid that, speaking of adoption, the child will then reject them or that the relationship built up to that moment will break up. Understandable but unfounded fears because daily life is much more important for a child. The words you will use, however, are fundamental because the child will make them his own to tell about his adoption to himself and to others ».
- Make him feel wanted. An adoption story risks opening doubts about being rejected or abandoned. “Instead, highlight the other truth, that is, how much the child was wanted and loved and thought about: a sentence like ‘Daddy and I have waited so long for you’ is very effective in explaining this thing.”
- Tell him about his origins. The adoption could represent a rift in the child’s story and cast a shadow over his past. “Try to relate the before and after that exist in an adoption experience to bring the story of the child back to unity: it is often useful to speak of a” belly mother “and a” mother of heart “”.
- No room for guilt. The idea of ”belly mom” and “heart mom” is also significant because it makes no value judgments on the two figures: «Always avoid passing on the idea, even indirectly, that the child has a” bad “and a” good “mother and that he has been abandoned or rejected». Reading the book “Mummy of the belly and mum of the heart” (Science Editorial) could be of great help.
- Seek alliances. Warn educators and teachers of the situation, so that all educational environments around the child are attentive and possibly ready to address the topic with him or the whole class.
Even in class and in the family it is important not to be unprepared.
- Wait for their questions. When to talk about it? The ideal would be “to wait for their questions, or at most anticipate them but not too much: know that the topic usually comes up in kindergarten, when children begin to discover the world even outside their family through comparisons and comparisons with their companions ».
- Don’t avoid the topic. «Always remember that children’s questions, even the most” impertinent “, are genuinely asked out of curiosity to know how things stand. The important thing is to give them answers: we do not protect anyone by not answering, on the contrary, we only encourage them to go and look for them elsewhere. And even concepts that are distant and different from one’s own experience, as well as negative or conflicting emotions, it is good to start facing them ».
- Use everyday images. “You make a lot of use of everyday life and practical metaphors to explain adoption, such as: ‘See? others, on the other hand, arrive already born and go to families where they have been long awaited and become their children“.
- With a brother. If in the classroom or in the family there is a firstborn brother or sister expecting an adopted sibling, it will be nice to work on the expectations: “They will certainly be focused on how they expect the newcomer, but let them also think about the fact that the little brother too has expectations about them: “How do you imagine your new brother? And how do you think he imagines you? “».