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Telling the Kids, page 2

Adoption advocates are upset about the promotional trailer for the new Disney movie "The Country Bears." In the film, a baby bear is adopted by a suburban family, but "Beary" starts to feel a little different...

"This is my baby picture...and this is yours."
"Mom, am I adopted?"
"Of course not honey."

Yes it's a comedy about a bear, and yes it's just a movie...but it demonstrates a theme often seen in popular culture, that you shouldn't tell kids they are adopted. But the philosophy that telling a child that he is adopted will somehow harm their psychological development is very outdated...

Fisher: Thirty years ago, the idea was to turn adoption into an imitative natural birth. And the notion was that you don't tell a child until they're old enough to understand if you tell them at all. Because it's gonna be traumatic. And you imitate the biological world.

That's Dr. Susan Fisher, a clinical professor of psychiatry at the University of Chicago and co-author of the book "Talking with young children about adoption." She believes children should be told as soon as they start asking questions...

Fisher: You talk to kids about death and sex and God and war in the terms that they can understand when they're little. So why don't you talk about adoption that way, too?


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