How to Explain Adoption to Your Children
Women who have chosen to pursue adoption but already have children at home often wonder how to explain adoption to their children.
How do you tell your children you are placing their brother or sister for adoption? Will they understand? Will they be sad or angry?
If possible, begin explaining adoption to your children while you are pregnant. Be honest with them, but don’t tell them more than they need to know. Explain how your baby will always be your son or daughter and your children’s brother or sister, but that the baby will be living with another mommy and daddy who are unable to have children on their own.
Some ideas to help you with explaining adoption to your child are:
Watch Adoption Movies with Your Children – There are many children’s movies that have an adoption theme. Choose movies that are appropriate for your children’s ages, and talk to them about the movie’s adoption theme afterwards.
Movies with adoption themes include Meet the Robinsons, The Land Before Time, Annie, Little Stuart, Despicable Me, and Angels in the Outfield. There are countless other adoption-related movies, so search online and find one that you feel is appropriate for your child’s age.
Read Adoption Books with Your Children – There are also adoption-themed children’s books that may help prepare your children for the adoption. One such book is Sam’s Sister by Juliet C. Bond. This book explains adoption from the perspective of a young girl whose mother places her younger brother for adoption. Sam’s Sister explains adoption in a positive, reassuring manner for young children to understand.
Involve Your Children in the Adoption Process – After you have told your children about your adoption plan, it may be beneficial to involve them in the adoption process. If you feel it is appropriate, include them in meetings with the adoptive parent(s).
Allow Your Children to Express Their Emotions – While this is an emotional time for you, remember that your children are also most likely experiencing a wide range of emotions.
Encourage your children to express their emotions by having them write letters, draw pictures or make crafts for their brother or sister. You may also take your children shopping to allow them to pick out a special stuffed animal, blanket or anything else that would be a meaningful gift. These activities will encourage your children to express their emotions during this time and to give their brother or sister a special keepsake.
After you tell your children about the upcoming adoption, continue to create a safe environment where they are encouraged to share their feelings and where talking about adoption is OK.
Remind them that it is normal to feel sad. But also remind them all of the good things that will take place in the baby’s life because of the adoption, and that the baby will always be their brother or sister, no matter what.