Has it always been your dream to expand your family through the beauty of adoption? You already have children that you love very much, but you want to give them a new brother or sister. You believe in the value of adoption, not just for you and your family, but also for the child who gets to enter your life and have a new home.
Knowing what you want to do, it’s time to talk to your children about it. You’re not sure what to expect. Will they be excited? Will it make them nervous? Will they have a lot of questions? It could be all of the above. You need to know how to bring up this complex subject.
Key tips to keep in mind
Exactly how this goes will depend on the unique situation your family is in, but here are a few general tips that can help everyone:
- Always be honest. Never try to alter the truth, even a little. You may have to bring things down to their level depending on age, but always be honest.
- Learn the proper, respectful terms to use. You’re starting to teach your children about their new brother or sister even long before you adopt. Make sure you do it in a way that is positive and that uses proper terms — saying “birth mother” instead of “real mother,” for instance.
- Embrace questions. Tell your children that you want to know how they feel and what they’d like to learn. Do your best to answer them. But remember that it’s not even your answers that matter the most, but your willingness to let this be a dialogue between the two of you.
Above all else, you want to be open and keep the discussion going. This is your decision, but it impacts everyone. Let the children know they have a voice and work through their questions, concerns, worries and excitement over how life is going to change.
Understanding the legal side
As you discuss the practical side with your children, take the time to learn as much as you can about the legal side of adoption yourself — and with your spouse, if you’re married.