Neve Campbell explains why she told her son he was adopted when he was little

Neve Campbell and JJ Feild have two sons, Caspian, nine, and Raynor, three. Raynor was adopted at birth, something Neve made public after they’d made it official. Neve talked about her sons while she was on The Kelly Clarkson Show the other day – the same show that she talked about being dragged off by a bear! Anyway, Kelly asked Neve if she’d told Raynor if he was adopted or was she waiting until he was older. Neve said that she’d read up on it and they’d decided it was best to tell him from the start. So Raynor has not only been raised knowing he’s adopted, but with a good understanding of who his birth mother is.

Neve Campbell is opening up about how she approaches the topic of adoption with her 3-year-old son.

While recently appearing on The Kelly Clarkson Show, the Scream star, 48, explained why she told her son Raynor “from the beginning” that she and husband JJ Feild welcomed him via adoption.

“I read a lot about it. I think back in the day we used to think ‘Keep it from them and throw it at them when they’re 21 so their entire reality falls apart,’ which makes so much sense,” she said. “Really the guidance that I had was even before they understand the language, talk about their birth mother, talk about their story. Tell them who they are.”

Because of her decision to discuss Raynor’s adoption with him, Campbell says “it’s no surprise for Raynor in any sense whatsoever.”

“He knows he was in Cynthia’s tummy. She made him,” continued Campbell, who also shares 9-year-old son Caspian with Feild.

[From People]

Most of the adopted people I know knew they were adopted but don’t know anything about their birth parents. I don’t know when they found out, though. I trust Neve did the research and everything she said makes sense. Plus, celebrities have to consider that if the public knows, their kids are going to find out, so it should come from them first. There’s probably a lot of suggested language so the child understands the concept of an expanded family. Neve’s correct that when we were growing up, unless it was family, I only knew of closed adoptions. Now there are other options. I don’t know much about adoption but it’s generally better to have more alternatives because people and families are so different. The important thing is that Raynor grows up knowing he is loved by his family, and it sounds like that is coming across loud and clear.

I noticed this article referred to JJ as Neve’s husband. They’ve been together for over a decade, and I hadn’t heard anything about them getting married. Both Wiki and IMDb still list them as partners. I did see that The Daily Mail made a big deal about Neve wearing what looks like a wedding band on her ring finger. Normally I’d dismiss that kind of speculation but with People calling it, I wonder if they did tie the knot? She was wearing a ring on Kelly’s show too. If they did, congrats! If they didn’t, still congrats because they still have a lovely life together.


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26 Responses to “Neve Campbell explains why she told her son he was adopted when he was little”

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  1. CherHorowitz says:

    My daughter’s dad isn’t her biological dad (because he is an abusive awful person), and we felt it was really important by the time she was about 6ish that she knew that daddy wasnt her daddy when she was first born, so she didnt feel lied to (as she may if we left it till later). She was totally fine with that and seemed entirely unaffected, in fact enamoured that we ‘picked’ such a great daddy. She doesn’t understand dna obviously so she hasnt yet asked if she had a different daddy (i think just assumes I was alone) and that’s the part i struggle with, because I don’t know how to explain that to a young child, and I need to her understand to try and prevent her being curious to meet him (as she may be if she doesnt understand why he isnt in our lives). Any advice welcome!

    • Hellohello says:

      I’m no expert on this topic but my partner is an adult adoptee who struggles mightily with his feelings about his family. I also used to work with victims/survivors of abuse. By normalizing the conversation about different ways to become family, you destigmatize your daughter’s back story and invite her keep an open dialog with you about her thoughts and questions, which is so, so valuable. Unfortunately, I don’t believe there’s a way to quell a child’s curiosity about a bio parent. You can wait to bring it up until she asks and then I think it would be very fair to explain honestly in an age-appropriate manner why her bio father is not in her life. It sounds like she loves you and her dad very much, and that you have a good bond. You can support her through her journey of understanding her complex parental dynamic by keeping an open dialog, being honest about your experiences, and setting boundaries to keep everyone safe.

      • As both an adoptee and a therapist, I can tell you that you tell the child as soon as they ask about babies. “Babies come from mommies tummy” but YOU came to us a special way, from a special person” etc.. (However one wants to say it). You want to normalize it AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE, and never ever have it be anything sudden. People don’t give children enough credit. They can absolutely handle the truth, catered to their age and emotional maturity, and this is backed up by science. Secrets just cause confusion in children and create trust issues. Always tell your kids the truth about death, divorce, etc. Secrets cause FAR more harm then a truth kindly told by a trusted adult.

        And @Hellohello, as a fellow adoptee, tell your husband there are great books out there that can really help with all the emotional issues of being adopted. We are much more prone to depression so I would also REALLY recommend a therapist (Especially one trained in adoption issues if he can find one). If you need low cost, try your local colleges and ask for the psychology department. Ask them if they have low cost recommendations, they will often have a professor or recent grads who will work sliding scale. Good luck to you both.

      • Christine says:

        I agree wholeheartedly, laurelcanyoner. I am an adoptee, born in 1974, and thank goodness my parents bumbled into some expert who gave them the advice to never keep it from me. I have no memory of not knowing, and my parents sprinkled it into daily conversation in a variety of ways.

        I grew up with two people who found out they were adopted as adults, and one other who was told from the word “go” they were adopted. They knew WE were adopted, and they are both seriously messed up that they were told as adults. I really hoped this is not even a question anymore, but it clearly is if Neve Campbell is addressing it. TELL YOUR CHILDREN, I promise it will be okay if dealt with openly and with love.

  2. Ameara says:

    Beautiful story 🙂

  3. Mcmmom says:

    All of my kids were adopted; one is an open adoption and the rest are closed because they were international adoptions.

    I don’t think there is a single expert in the adoption community today who would advise parents NOT to tell their kids from the very beginning that they came into the family through adoption. It’s commonly understood that it’s best to tell the kids way before they are old enough to understand so that the words are comfortable to the parents.

    Cherhorowitz – I’m sorry, but you cannot prevent your child from being curious about her birth father. She might be or she might not be, but that’s really up to her. I have one child who has never expressed any interest in his birth family, whereas I have another who would really like to meet them (but that’s virtually impossible in our case). My advice is to be as honest as you can be in an age appropriate way, but recognize that when she turns 18, she can choose to make contact with him. Give her the tools to make wise decisions and keep the lines of communication open so that she doesn’t feel she has to go behind your back. For what it’s worth, from what I’ve seen from two decades of involvement in the adoption community, adoptees tend to want to know more about their birth mothers than their birth fathers. My 13 year old knows her birth mother, but has never asked about her birth father.

    • Jess says:

      Totally agree with your comment. My two children were adopted (in the past, because now they are just my children without labels). Sometimes my daughter asks me about her birth mother and I answer just her question, according to her age. My boy never asks me about her. However, I told them that if they want to, I will help them to find her when they turn 18, because it is their right. They never ask about their birth father.

      In Spanish there’s a special name for the birth mother “progenitora” or birth father (progenitor), in my broken English, I am not sure if there is an specific word (please someone bilingual help me with that). The point is, for my children they just have one dad and one mom (my husband and me), because we prayed for them, we waited for them, we tried really hard to find them, we love them to the moon and back and we take care of and try to give them a happy life. However, we really appreciate their progenitora because she brought them to this world.

      • I’m adopted and I use the words either birth parent or natural parents to describe my progenitors. ( I hope I used the word correctly!)

      • Christine says:

        I use egg and sperm donor. I don’t have any ill will towards them, I am thankful they let me be born, but I’m not okay with using the word “parents” for anyone other than the people who actually raised me. I have to say, though, I’m taking progenitors out for a spin, that’s a great word for it!

  4. Melody+Calder says:

    I was adopted by my dad when my mom married when I was 2. I always knew from the beginning even if I didn’t understand what it meant. Every year we celebrated my adoption day and my dad and I had a special date.
    My cousin was fully adopted and not told until he was older and it has completely ruined his relationship with my aunt and uncle.
    I fully support telling when they are young so there is no shock or feeling of betrayal

  5. Léna says:

    I don’t know how and why i’ve been looking at so many lists of children in foster care in the U.S this week and it’s just heartbreaking. In France these lists and presentation of children to adopt don’t exist, children do not have to “sell themselves and their personalities” to be “attractive to parents”. It’s just so weird and oh boy, I cried so hard at videos of children saying how much they want a family. I can’t have biological children, for now I don’t really as I always thought I didn’t want them. But I’m certain that adoption or become a foster parent will be the way to go if I decide to have them.

    • Rebecca says:

      Just so you know, at least in the US, foster care kids are frequently not considered to be up for adoption since the system intentionally prioritizes getting families back together whenever possible.

      Again, at least in the US, there are long waiting lists for parents who want to adopt.

  6. Redheadwriter says:

    Adoptee as well as an adoptive parent. I always just “knew” so it was never this moment of finding out. Same with my kids, who at least have some connection with their bios. Took me 55 years before I found a bio parent (dad) and have a little bit of a relationship with him. We live several states away from each other or I think we would have more. No word on bio mom now. One of my kids has a sibling we were not able to adopt (long story) who I connected with when she turned 19. Her parents never told her she was adopted. So many years of so many lies. She is all sorts of messed up — but now feels she has the pieces she needs to rebuild her life. So for anyone out there: be honest.

  7. Anners says:

    My mum was adopted. My grandmother used to rock her to sleep saying “mummy loves her adopted baby” so that there would never be that moment of shock and feeling lied to all along. I remember being absolutely gutted, though, when I found out at about 8 years that my favourite grandparents weren’t “really” related to me. I’ve obviously since gotten over that, but the betrayal and terror were intense. I definitely (from my limited perspective) support the always knowing bit.

    Mum also got to meet her birth mother and half sister because I did the Ancestry DNA test and some distantly related family reached out. That has also been a very positive experience – she always wanted a sister!

  8. Willow says:

    My aunt has 2 daughters with different men. The first man was abusive and when her first daughter was born, he was not around. The second man was the person who raised her. He was wonderful, but he was the biological father to only her second daughter. The problem is that my aunt and uncle never told my cousins this. Everyone else in the family knew but them. It was discussed and discussed that my aunt needed to tell her daughter, but she never did. And at the worst time, when she was a teenager, my cousin, overheard a conversation between other family members, and found out that the person she thought was her father her whole life, was not. She was so MAD and felt so betrayed. And she went off the rails. The relationship she had with her parents was never the same, she disappeared for a while, then ended up living with our grandparents. And it also tore up her sister, because she began to doubt that their father was really her bio dad too. It took that whole family years to recover from that.
    Tell your kids. Talk about different ways that families are made. Constantly tell the normal ‘story’ of your family, so it doesn’t seem weird, wrong, or like a dirty secret that you hide.

  9. Tina says:

    My parents waited until I was 12 years old to tell me I was adopted and that the man I had been calling my dad since age 2 was not my biological father. There was a messy custody battle and my biological father wanted nothing to do with me, but dragged things out by not relinquishing rights. I learned there was a box in the house with all my adoption paperwork and snooped around (as kids and teens do) and couldn’t find it.

    Over the years, the biological father still sent me birthday cards using his last name, not my legal name, and would call and ask “who’s your daddy?”. As a child I couldn’t understand why he would get mad at me when I said my dad’s name, you know, the man who changed my diapers and raised me. At one point in my adulthood he asked for my social security number so he could claim me as a dependent on his taxes. He also said I owed him the money he spent to relinquish his rights. Most recently, he ran a background check on me after I told him to F off because he said we both needed to atone. I was a literal toddler, I had and have nothing to atone for. He found a case number, but didn’t know what it was for and painted me to be a criminal. It was a ticket for expired car registration. The man is unhinged and I’m fortunate my parents protected me from him while they could, but I still hold resentment for them waiting so long to have the The Talk. I was such a confused child and now a depressed and anxious adult with attachment issues.

    When I was 32 my mother (biological) lost the house and I had to pack up her hoard. That whole experience was awful and I found the box. Quite frankly, I wish I had never found it, let alone examined its contents.

    For anyone who is considering having this conversation with their child(ren), please use the guidance of a therapist. My parents did handled things willy nilly and I have not yet learned how to reconcile this trauma despite a lot of therapy. My mother dismisses it when I say this has had a profound affect on me and she told me if I hear from my biological father I should still be respectful.

  10. KrystinaJ says:

    I’m adopted.
    I knew from a very early age that I was, but my experience was incredibly negative. I never felt like I was actually part of my adoptive family. For multiple reasons.

  11. lucy2 says:

    I would guess it depends on the situation, and the maturity of the child to know when to tell them, but I generally think everyone should know. If for no other reason than medical history.
    Good point about celebrity though, especially those followed by paparazzi on the regular. They don’t have much choice but to tell immediately.

  12. Nick+G says:

    I’m so sad hearing some of these stories. I was adopted too, told from a young age, which, thank God, kept me together, but my Mum felt very threatened at the thought of me knowing anything about my origins and would play a sort of game pretending I was their biological child. It was very confusing when I was young. Even though they were decent parents and absolutely beloved in their social and family circles, I did grow up feeling totally gaslighted and emotionally abused for several reasons. I found my parents and families of origin, kept the relationships totally secret from them, and felt very lucky to have done so, despite problems that ensued.
    Therapy is essential I think for MOST adult adoptees. The identity issues are so much to deal with even if it’s a positive experience.

  13. molly says:

    I’m so happy adoptions are becoming less and less secretive these days. I remember having a cousin who was adopted in the 80s, and it was a big family secret. I found out as a teen and was told, “but don’t say anything to him, his parents are going to tell him when he turns 18.”

    WTF? I was a kid too, and it was a huge burden to carry around whenever we saw them at holiday.

  14. Jill says:

    Adoptive mom with open adoptions, and we have a relationship with my boys’ birth mom’s family and one of the birth dad’s families. For us, it was the right decision. Adoption is rooted in loss. That’s where it starts and we wanted to be on top of that from the beginning. We’re the parents and there’s no confusion on that, and they “know where they come from”. It will evolve as they mature and it will always be complicated.

    One kid went to school with a girl who was adopted from China by a white family and they didn’t tell her (WTF??) and then got mad when another little girl adopted from China ran over and said “You’re like me!” People are so screwy.

  15. AMA1977 says:

    My husband is adopted and did not know until he was 9; it was an interfamilial adoption, so his mom (the woman who raised him) is his biological aunt. Evidently one of his cousins/biological siblings (same bio mom) told him in a mocking way at a family wedding, “your dad’s not even your REAL DAD because you’re adopted!!” His parents initially denied it, then told him the truth. It was very traumatic for him. Years later at his father’s funeral, one of his bio-sisters came up to me (his wife of two years, who was managing our newborn son while my husband helped his mom at the funeral and grieved his dad) and said, “hi, I’m Carol, Mark’s sister (names changed). Did he tell you he had other brothers and sisters?” He had, but if he hadn’t yet, what a sh!tty thing to do at his father’s funeral! I was speechless.

    On the positive side, he did 23 and Me a few years ago, partly with the hope of finding out something/anything about his bio dad (bio mom refused to share what information she had about him, it was a short-lived relationship) and found his bio siblings about 18 months ago. It has been a joy to get to know them and they have welcomed us with open arms. Their kindness and support has been a tremendous blessing to him (all of us!) and we are lucky to have them in our lives.

    • Isabella says:

      AMA1977, your story is so poignant and I want to be sure I understand. Your husband was raised by his biological aunt. And her husband? And who were his biological parents? I’m confused.

      I’m so happy that everything worked out for him. Sounds like he has a wonderful life.

  16. Jack says:

    My sister and brother were both adopted and were told from the very beginning. I adopted my daughter (international adoption) and I told her from the very beginning. When she started elementary school, she told everyone she was adopted and where she is from and made other friends that were adopted from other countries. She thinks it’s cool. She’s 18 now.