Adoptive mother holds her biological and adopted childrenThe journey of adoption is challenging and offers obstacles to conquer that many will never face. But the beauty in adoption and reward is something that will give back to you and your family forever. As parents, understanding adoption is clear and an active choice. This is not always the case for children at home anticipating the arrival of a new sibling. It’s both an exciting time and confusing for your adopted child and other children in the home, but you can help create a smooth transition into one strong bonded family. Discover 4 tips for encouraging healthy sibling relationships through adoption:
1. Transparency. Honesty with both your adopted and biological children can seem difficult because a parent’s natural instinct to guard your kids against the tough stuff. But covering up or telling half of the truth isn’t sustainable and gives adoption a negative connotation as if there is something to hide. Embrace these positive conversations with your kids, use words they can understand and add to that understanding as they grow together. Maybe this is an appropriate time to establish regular family meetings to keep up with how everyone is progressing.
2. Preparation. There are endless things to be done when awaiting the arrival of your adopted child! This is a great opportunity for your biological children to become used to the idea of having a new sibling. Just as you would for a biological sibling on the way, maybe you take the time to decorate the new room/nursery together. Pick out books, toys, and clothes together. It may even be a good idea to bring your kids to the meetings with the social worker and ask any questions he/she has.
3. Inclusion. Sibling rivalry is a problem in many households. Naturally, when a new sibling is born or adopted, there is inevitable excitement and attention drawn to them. This can make other kids in the family feel insignificant or second. Giving responsibilities to other siblings can help them feel like they are apart of the excitement and newness. Maybe it’s changing diapers, reading to the baby, or helping with the nightly routine. This also allows siblings to connect with each other. Continue to make a conscious effort to give equal attention to all your kids.
4. Family Time. Now more than ever it will be important to set aside time for family bonding. This could include activities as simple as daily family walks or dates to the park. Maybe it’s cooking easy dinner recipes together letting your kids lead the way as a team. You could plan a weekly movie night where you share snacks and snuggle up in PJs to relax. There are tons of inexpensive ways to have fun together!
Keeping these four points in mind will not only benefit your children individually but also your family as a working unit in this big transition. Embrace this beautiful time in you and your family’s life!