Exploring Adoption Consciousness

Opening the ‘adoption box’ is a personal choice

A.J. Bryant


Empty brown box with lid to the side all on a green-yellow background
Photo by Eva Bronzini from Pexels

My two adopted siblings never discuss adoption.

Many people wonder if they are involved in the adoption field like me. Do they speak about it or share their thoughts with non-adopted people? The simple answer is no. Without putting them on the spot or making them feel uncomfortable, they don’t talk about adoption at all. If they do, it’s not with people outside of our family. And that is totally fine.

Adoption is a complex emotional process. Frequently I hear parents ask about their children’s adoption consciousness. More specifically, “when will my child start to explore their adoption as you have?” My answer — I don’t know.

Many adoptees question their adoption and how that fits into their identity as teens. That seems like a natural point in life to begin exploring who they are.

Others, begin unpacking their “adoption box” when they are younger. And don’t have the words to describe their feelings. Some, don’t even look into that box until their late 20’s, 30’s, and older.

There is no right age to begin.

Still, other adoptees have no interest in opening up that box and that’s acceptable.

Parents and Adoption Consciousness

I talked recently with my mother about if parents should push their children to explore adoption. They didn’t push me or my siblings. Again, this is an individual choice. Parents may discourage adoption conversations, by raising the issue before their child is ready.

Conversely, when parents make no mention of it, that sends the wrong signal as well. They already may be feeling weird or an outsider because of their adoption. And if you close off that line of conversation, those feelings may heighten. A kid might think that you, as their parent doesn’t find it important. That’s a damaging message to send to your child.

It’s a fine line in deciding when to examine adoption. There’s no expert, book, blog, or movie telling an adoptive parent when they might be crossing it. That’s the parents' responsibility.



A.J. Bryant

Adopted from Kerala. I write about adoption, my intercultural marriage, and contemporary India. Prawns are my love language.