Contributed by KS

Adopting a child is a big decision.  It’s one that affects the lives of so many people:  the child who needs a forever family, the parents who are agreeing to love and care for this child as one of their own, and even biological children to take into consideration.  A prevalent fear of adoptive parents is how their biological children will accept and adjust to their new sibling.  Sadly, in an effort to protect their children, parents may choose not to adopt and rob their children of a blessing.  For me personally, I feel like my parents adopting my new siblings was one of the best things that ever happened to our family.  The opportunity to reach out and change someone’s life is an amazing experience and that’s what adoption is all about!

Upfront, I will tell you that adding “new faces” to an existing family is quite an adjustment, so I understand the parents’ concern.  As one of those welcoming siblings, I struggled through the process and there were times I wished my family wouldn’t have adopted them.  But today, I cannot imagine my life without them!  I can personally attest to the fact that the good that comes from adoption far outweighs the challenges.

Here are a few suggestions that may help your children adjust to the new family members.  The primary focus is to maintain relationships with your children during the transition:

  • Talk with your children about the challenges they will face before you adopt. Explain to them that even if/when it doesn’t feel like they are getting as much attention, you still love them. Communication is key in this process, so encourage them to share what they’re thinking and feeling. Include them in the process, though you are still the parent. It will aid you in helping them understand and deal with their emotions in a healthy way.
  • Make sure you still spend individual time with each of your children. This can be a challenge in a busy family going through lots of adjustments, but it will help strengthen your relationships. My parents scheduled special outings each month so that each child had a “date” with either mom or dad. This was incredibly valuable and it created special memories for my parents and me.
  • Family activities make memories and the sooner you make memories together, the sooner you’ll feel like a family. We took an unforgettable vacation right after we adopted my new siblings and it really made us feel connected. As we look back and talk about the fun things we did together, it makes us feel more like a family. It doesn’t have to be an elaborate vacation, but just something to do together – that everyone enjoys – that will serve as a bonding experience.

It is not only possible for your biological children to accept new siblings, but it is an enjoyable and positive family bonding experience – one you won’t want to miss!