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Q&A Section – How do I explain the adoption to my ASD daughter?

October 20, 2021

This is the question of the month as featured in Issue Number 12

Question from Jo:

This question may not be a fit for this forum but it is a problem I have been grappling with for a while. Our almost 6 year old daughter, who is on the spectrum, is adopted. We took custody of her at 16 months after she suffered neglect and some abuse. Either due to process or finances, the final order of adoption is just being entered this month and Sophie’s name is being legally changed to our last name. However, she is old enough to be aware of her previous name that is used at school. Though Sophie is 6 physically, cognitively, she is more 3 or 4, so we do not know how much to say about the adoption and explanation of the name change. She is asking questions that we need to answer but between cognitive and anxiety issues, how do we approach this?

ASD Adoption Daughter

I am hoping someone in your audience of readers may have experience in this area that they could lend here. If it is too complex, I understand.

Facebook followers answered:

Sarah Haywood *i would say that you gave her the same last name as you because you love her lots.i would just keep it very simple.: )

Barbie Torregrosa De Cardenas My son also in the spectrum is adopted, however he was given to us at 5months old. He too suffered neglect and abuse since birth. We knew which name we were going to give him and all his medical records previous to adoption being finalized state his bi…See More

Cheryl Frost We are in the same situation and made a bedtime storybook with photos and simple but honest text. It’s worked well so far.

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Paula Jean Johnson Keep it simple, but honest. Don’t hide anything. Explain how much you you love her and want her to share your last name and explain adoption. But, in a simple way. You don’t want her to be angry later because you weren’t honest.

Nicki Decriscio Tell her the truth don’t sugar coat it I have 3 adopted & they know the whole story their birth parents were sick on drugs couldn’t keep them so u r here & u r loved safe & protected

Amanda Sheahan I agree keep it simple. Never offer more info than what she is asking for.

Helen Cox-Bolder She should already have life story book and you could add to it and make it a special celebration, I have know adopters keep the child’s birth surname as a middle name. It is important not to hide the truth otherwise she cannot trust you and that is a price that you do not want to pay.

Sharon Whiffin Hi I am in the same position we adopted our son in 2007 and he is 10 now he knows the judge said he us going to stay with us forever and that his first mummy and daddy could not look after him and he knows he is safe. He has attachment issues and is on the autistic spectrum also and can be a handful but his school is good, speak to your adoption social worker about life story work I keep explainations short and easy for him to understand. I would make a celebration of the name change in some way suitable to what she likes – bowling or cinema ? Xxx

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