Adopting a child is a very involved decision for you and your partner. However, when you already have children (either by birth or former adoption), bringing a new child into the mix means you not only have to consider your own feelings but theirs as well. As there are no guarantees with adoption until you actually bring the child home, explaining this to your other children is emotional and also confusing. Explaining it and getting them to accept their new sibling may be difficult, but not impossible.
Read Books on Adoption
For younger children, understanding adoption may be difficult. However, there are plenty of books out there on the subject-matter. Read books on becoming an older sibling to an adoptive child and what that details. As they ask questions, answer them as best as you can as it relates to your situation.
Explain the Process
Unlike when you’re pregnant and your children can see your growing belly and count down the months until their new sibling arrives, the adoption process takes a lot more time. There is the potential of being matched and then at the last minute having the biological parent opt out, which can be emotionally difficult for your child. So, explain the process as best you can from beginning to end so that they know what all the changes are about and the potential roadblocks that could stall their efforts to get a brother or sister. You can click here for resources on adoption that may better help you explain it to your children.
Let Your Kids Help
To remove the idea that they’re being replaced by their adopted sibling it is a good idea to allow your children to be involved in getting ready for their arrival. They can help with setting up the new room and picking out toys they think their brother or sister will enjoy.
Don’t Become Too Consumed
You’re excited about adopting a child and there’s a lot involved with getting ready, but it is imperative to the emotional well-being of your children that you don’t become too consumed. Try to keep up with normal routines, and often make time to spend with your children. This lets them know that while you’re excited about your growing family, that you still love them and they are still a priority in your life.
Big Brother or Sister
Allowing your child to help out with loving and caring for their new brother or sister is a great way to help them through any emotional difficulties they may be having. Rather than seeing them as competition, they will take on a more nurturing and protective role of the big brother or sister. Let them help with feedings, reading books, and anything else you can think of. Lastly, make sure that the children spend time playing together so that they can develop a bond.
Adding to your family is an exciting experience. Though you may have already sorted through your own emotions, it is imperative to prepare your children for the new arrival of their brother or sister. There will likely be some emotional issues you’ll have to work through along the way, but as long as you’re keeping them in the loop, showing them your love, and reinforcing the positive outcome, they will come around.