Helping Children Understand Adoption

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Bringing a new family member home is always an exciting and stressful experience, but with some calculated steps and precautions, the tension can be greatly reduced. When parents are adopting, their current child or children may have questions, fears, or anxiety that can be addressed prior to the adoption. This can help to ensure that the family unit runs smoothly with everyone feeling loved and excited about such a wonderful event.

The first and most important thing is to be honest with the child. There will likely be questions regarding where the new sibling is coming from, where he came from, and why the parents chose this route. This is especially important if the adopted child is of a different race. While it may seem rude to discuss race, he may wonder why his new sibling does not look like the rest of the family.

Parents should be prepared for fears that may seem irrational to them. It is common to feel like his parents do not love him anymore, and that is why they want another child. Keep him involved in the adoption process. Also, parents should not see the adoption as them getting another child, but instead, the family is getting another member. Be cautious with the wording. Parents should not ask if they would like a brother or sister. It should not appear that the he has power over whether the adoption should take place.

Role playing can help to ease the transition of an adoption. The parents can use a doll to teach the child how to take care of their new sibling and be gentle. After the child has grasped that concept, the parents can move on to teaching about adoption-specific issues. For example, the parents can play the role of classmates asking questions about why the new sibling does not look like them or where the "real" family is. This way the parents can coach on the proper answers, and he will not become stressed or resentful when away from the home.

Parents should try to keep the child's routine as close to normal. Children gauge the level of a parent's love by the amount of attention an individual receives. This includes both good and bad attention. Continue to read bedtime stories, engage in playtime, and even punish as normal.

Keep the lines of communication open before the adoption takes place and after. However, do not force the conversations. Talking about it too much may cause the child to feel as though the adopted sibling is replacing them. After confusion and fear have subsided, the parents can watch the wonders of adoption and building a family.

If you are interested in Kansas adoption or a Kansas adoption agencies, be sure to visit Adoption & Beyond.

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