Adopting a child is a wonderful way to expand your family, but you have any other children in your home, you may find it difficult to explain what’s happening. Also, they may have a hard time understanding the changes.
How can you help your child through the adoption process and build a strong sibling bond?
Bringing in an adoptive sibling for your child doesn’t have to be difficult. Here are some ways you can prepare your child for his or her new sibling.
Explain the Adoption Process
Once you begin considering adoption, you should explain the process to your current children. You may be hesitant to share all of the details with them, especially if they were adopted. However, try to be as open and honest as you can; children are much more absorbent than adults give them credit for. You may be surprised by just how much your child will understand!
Talk with your child about when the adoption process will begin and everything that will happen during the process. Depending on your current child’s age, it is important to explain what each part of the process is for and who will be involved, from the social worker that approves your home study to the attorney who is helping you.
No matter how young your child is, you should take care in explaining everything that’s going on. Your child deserves to understand the changes taking place in the home and how it will affect him or her.
Read About Adoption With Your Child
If you’re concerned about your ability to explain the process to your child, then you should consider reading stories about adoption to them! These don’t have to be in-depth explanations of the adoption process, but rather how families with adoptive siblings work together. I have also included a list of books to read on my website.
Don’t forget to include books on how to be a good big brother or sister. This will help them understand how they can be a good role model for siblings.
Involve Your Child in the Adoption Process
While preparing your home for a new child, let your child help out if they’re old enough. Let them pick out a few toys or books for their adoptive sibling or help clean up the child’s room in preparation. Your child can even go through their old toys and clothes for items to give their new sibling as a way to bond with him or her.
Making sure your child is involved with the adoption process will show him or her that although things will change, he/she is still a part of the family and just as loved as their new sibling will be.
Encourage Your Child to Be a Good Role Model
As an older sibling, your child is going to have a lot of responsibility towards their adoptive sibling. They’ll need to model good behaviors and attitudes for their sibling so that the adoptive child can grow in the family.
Make sure your child understands good behavior so that your child can be a great role model for siblings!
Explain Changes That May Happen After the Adoptive Sibling Arrives
No matter how well you prepare your child for the adoption process, there will still be noticeable changes in your home that they will pick up on. Make sure that they are aware of how your home will change once their adoptive sibling arrives.
Depending on how old the adopted child is, you may have to spend far more time on the new baby than your other child. Make sure that your child understands that this is because the baby is new and has certain needs that your current child doesn’t have anymore. You are not paying more attention to the baby because you love him more than your other child, but because he has needs that have to be met.
Explain that you may have less time to do fun things as just the two of you, but your child and their new sibling will be able to have plenty of fun as the baby grows up! Even though your attention has to be divided between your child and the new baby, you still love your child and would never use the baby as a replacement for them.
Listen to Your Child’s Concerns
Your child may end up being resistant to the adoption, which is understandable. There are plenty of reasons for your child to want your time and attention, and a new baby might seem like a threat in the home. Make sure you listen to what your child has to say and acknowledge his feelings.
Make sure your child knows that they can always bring his concerns to you. Your child needs to know if anything about the adoption process upsets him, or if the adoptive sibling treats them poorly (as any sibling might do!), he can come to you for help.
Don’t Let Adoption Swallow Your Conversations
While the adoption process is going to take a lot of time to explain to your child, you need to make sure that you still spend time talking with your child about things aside from the adoption.
Continue to spend time with your child as you normally would; things will change once the new baby is brought home, so take advantage of building your family bond before adding their adoptive sibling into the mix.
Grow Your Family With Love and Care
Adopting a child in Florida can be a long process, but through love and care, you can prepare yourself and your child for any changes that may come for your family. Above all, make sure to listen to your child’s wants and needs to help your child feel heard while he or she waits for the new adoptive sibling!
Have you been considering adopting a child but aren’t sure who to talk to?
We’re here to help. Contact us with any questions or concerns you have about the adoption process, and continue reading our blog for more helpful tips.