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Why Telling Your Kid They’re Adopted Isn’t Breaking ‘Bad News’

The following was syndicated by Quora for The Fatherly Forum, a community of parents and influencers with insights about work, family, and life. If you’d like to join the Forum, drop us a line at

How do I break it to my son that he was adopted?

Regret and hindsight walk hand-in-hand. Don’t allow yourself to have either. This is the time that you have decided is right. The problem with ‘planning’ is that, to a child, it looks contrived. It will feel threatening, perhaps even scary. The news delivered will assume a large magnitude. It will become a huge focus when it doesn’t need to be.

I’m not a fan of ‘sitting down at the dining room table’ to break news. Please note I said news. Not bad news. This is information. It will help you and your child get to know one another better. Sitting in a formal setting isn’t required.

If it were me, I would just ‘talk.’ No need to apologize. Why apologize? You have done nothing wrong.

“I wasn’t able to have children myself, and that made me really sad. Then I found out about children who needed a family and I was really lucky, I was allowed to have you. Because I love you so much, I was allowed to sign a special piece of paper which meant that I was allowed to say that you were my son. I was allowed to adopt you and that was the happiest day of my life.”

There will be questions. There may well be anger. Adopted children need constant reassurance about their validity. Being adopted is a strange thing. I constantly feel as though I’m out of place. You have the ability to give your child the grounding they need.

This is your child. How they came to be with you matters less than the love and future you can give them.

Lou Davis is an accomplished writer whose work has been published by Forbes, Slate, and The Huffington Post. You can read more of her Quora posts here: