If you have children before relinquishing a child for adoption or you have subsequent children after adoption then you will have to deal with how to explain adoption to your children as well as help them deal with their thoughts and feelings regarding adoption.
A few tips:
- Use positive adoption language with your child. If they are using words that you don’t like – gently correct them as you would do with anything else. They’ll begin to pick up on your language thus impacting their small world with that positive language.
- Be mindful about what your child watches on Television. If the movie they are watching has an adoption theme, you may want to make sure it paints the birth family in a positive light because YOUR child is your placed child’s birth family.
- Your kids may be open about sharing with teachers and classmates that they have a sibling. You may need to have a sit down with the teachers to explain. In one instance that I know of, a teacher called a child a liar repeatedly for a week until Mom realized what was going on. That child has a sibling that was placed for adoption but the teacher didn’t know about it.
- Bring up the sibling periodically in conversations as well as look at pictures of the sibling.
- Frame a picture of both children together if you have one and place in the child’s room.
- You could also create a special photo album of the siblings together.
- When your child does something like his/her sibling, tell him.
- If you say nightly prayers with your child, pray for his/her sibling each night.
- When visiting, allow the children to have some one on one time, if they are both old enough. Of course, adults can still be in the room, but give them a little space to play and get to know one another.
- Depending on their age, you may wish to allow them to talk on the phone.
- For holidays such as Christmas and birthdays, allow your child to pick out a special gift for his sibling or allow him/her to make the sibling a special card. Even if sending gifts isn’t possible in your adoption, your child could still pick out a special ornament or something each year.
While it’s not traditional it certainly is possible for brothers and sisters separated by adoption to have a bond.