Preparing Your Family for Adoption: What Your Children Should Know

For many families, adoption means welcoming a new child into your home. However, the process can be different for different families. This blog post addresses families with children that are inviting a new brother or sister into their home.  You’re probably wondering how best to prepare your children for their new sibling. Here are a few pointers and lessons to keep in mind as you prepare your children for the new arrival.

1. Teach your child(ren) to give the adoptive child some space.

Make sure your kids are aware that their new brother or sister might be upset when they first arrive, and it’s important to give them space and lots of understanding.

2. Teach your child(ren) not to ask lots of questions right away.

Let your child(ren) know that the adoptive child is going through a rough transition, and may not be comfortable answering questions about their birth or previous home life and experiences. It may take time to develop trust and understanding before they are ready to share anything.

3. Teach your child(ren) that you are always there to listen to them if a problem arises.

Make sure your child(ren) know that they can always talk to you about anything, including questions about the adoption. If they have concerns, or if they see or hear anything upsetting, let them know they can come to you. With older children, scheduling a weekly family meeting can help air issues early before they turn into trouble.

4. Teach your child(ren) the importance of role modeling good behavior.

Let your child(ren) know how much you value them setting a good example for your new family member.

5. Teach your child(ren) that you intend to keep things as fair as possible.

Make sure the child(ren) know the new adoptive child is part of the family and will have the same rules and responsibilities when they are age-appropriate. For older children, adding chores to their day should happen in the first week; this timeline gives a period of adjustment but is quick enough to let them know they are part of the family.

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