Adopting in Tennessee is not an easy legal process. Many new parents face additional challenges, such as whether to inform their new children about their adoption. A study published in The Atlantic magazine suggests that disclosing an adoptee status after the age of three may result in negative consequences. Accordingly, the later that an individual learns about her or his adoption, the more likely it affects the individual’s mental health and life satisfaction.

A Montclair State University’s graduate-level counseling professor conducted the study and determined that there are various stages of discovery, each of which affects individuals differently. Many parents reveal a child’s adoption status as early as possible to avoid lying to them. Parents may disclose the day of the adoption and how the child came home instead of making up stories of being pregnant with them. Truthful disclosure promoted positive mental health while also fostering a relationship of open communication between the parent and child.

Consequences of not disclosing an adoptee status

Discovering an adoption later in life traumatizes some individuals, especially if they feel misled or lied to by their adoptive parents. Based on surveys conducted for the study, researchers found that the older individuals discovered their adoptee status, the higher their distress. Realizing that parents, siblings and other relatives knew about their adoption status may cause grief, anger, pain and feelings of betrayal.

Potential risks associated with DNA testing kits

Advances in technology now allow individuals to order affordable direct-to-consumer DNA testing kits online. While these kits are popular and help individuals to learn about their genetic ancestry and possible medical issues, some individuals are surprisingly discovering their adoptee status.

According to Forbes magazine, there are, however, risks and consequences of using a DNA testing kit. Results from mail-order kits allow individuals to add their genetic information to a database that compares its other users’ DNA. An adoption revealed later in life through an at-home test kit may generate possible negativity toward parents who did not disclose the facts of a child’s adoptee status.