After giving it some careful consideration, you’ve decided that you’re ready to open your heart and your home to a child or children who haven’t been so fortunate in the past. You and your spouse have begun the process of finding the right child to adopt, yet you’re worried about how you’re biological children will take it. Not wanting any of your children to feel replaced or jealous, it is common to be concerned with how they’ll take the news of a new sibling arriving - especially when it’s through a complex and emotional process like adoption.
Before ever bringing the news of a potential sibling to your children, you should first educate yourself on the adoption process including the legal and emotional aspects of it. You want to ensure that you have a wealth of information not only for yourself but for your children. Depending on how old they are, they may have a ton of questions that you’ll want to be prepared to answer. Parents considering adoption should consider resources like:
Law firms, such as Bremer Whyte Family Law, to learn the legal requirements and stages or steps to adoption
Your local welfare or child services department
The National Council for Adoption
Reading materials and books catering to the emotional needs of adoptive families
Explain What You’ve Learned
Now equipped with a wealth of information that allows you to educate your child and answer any questions they may have, you’re ready to share the news with your children about the potential of a new sibling coming to live with you. Explain why you want to adopt, and more importantly, what you’ll have to go through (in an age-appropriate manner).
Be honest about the ups and downs that could occur in choosing a child and going through the steps to adopt them. Letting them know that it’s not as simple as picking a brother or sister and bringing them home to live permanently is imperative to prevent letdown or heartbreak if things don’t go as planned. Also, be prepared to listen to and understand any feelings they may have about a new sibling.
Allow them to Help
As the time gets closer and you’re preparing for the arrival of your foster child, allow your children to help with the preparation. This can include allowing them to prepare a room for them, picking out toys, or even going shopping for clothes for their new brother or sister. Inclusion can often help your biological children to be more accepting of their adoptive siblings when they arrive.
Continue a Routine
Though your time and energy are likely being put towards the adoption, you must try as you can not to make it all about the new child. This can cause feelings of jealousy and resentment. Try as best you can to maintain your normal routine. Do things together as a family and even try to fit in some time to do things special with your biological children before the new sibling arrives and changes the family dynamics.
Deciding to open your home to another child is commendable. Though the process can often be challenging, if you equip yourself with the right tools, you and your children will get through it just fine. Children are a lot more open-minded than you think. They have room in their hearts to love another sibling and will likely welcome the idea once they adjust to the change. The best thing you can do to prepare your child for an adoptive sibling is to give it time before and after your adoptive child arrives in your home. Before you know it, they’ll be thick as thieves just as any other siblings would be.