Adoption is a gift that parents give themselves – and a gift they give their adopted child. As the ranks of children caught in the foster care system keep growing, there’s more need than ever before for adoptive parents to open their doors and provide children with loving homes.
What do you do, however, if you’re bringing a child into a home where you already have children? It’s one thing to prepare your home and your hearts for a child when it’s just you and your partner, but it’s quite another to introduce the concept of adoption to the children you already have.
Here are some tips that can help you get started
Honesty and communication are generally the keys to making this a success. With that in mind:
- Read about adoption. Whether it’s “Wolfie the Bunny” or “Happy Adoption Day!,” there are many great books for kids that explore the idea of blended families and adopted siblings. Children can often process a lot just by connecting to what they read, so don’t overlook this powerful tool.
- Talk about the process. The adoption process can take a while, and it isn’t always as straightforward as parents may hope. Make sure that you demystify the process by keeping your kids aware of what’s happening as you move forward. As you finalize your plans, help your children adjust to the idea of a new sibling just like you would if you were having another natural child. Make use of calendars to count down the days to your adopted child’s “delivery.”
- Offer lots of reassurance. It’s not uncommon for the children already at home to feel a little bit displaced by an adopted sibling – just like they might with the birth of a new baby. You can ease their concerns by spending extra time with them (before and after your new child arrives) and giving them a safe place to share their feelings and thoughts.
When you adopt a child out of foster care, there may be a few challenges – but the rewards are tremendous. Experienced legal guidance can make the entire process much easier.