Just because you and your spouse have decided that you are ready to adopt a child does not necessarily mean that your current children are ready for a new sibling. Thrusting this major life decision on your children without first speaking to them could be disastrous and result in years of hard feelings. All parents should take some time to prepare their family and get them excited about bringing a new child into the home.
Start Discussing the Possibility Early
While you might think that your children will be excited about a new sibling, this situation should never be a surprise. Instead, both you and your spouse should sit down with your kids and explain to them that you are starting to think about adopting. This will give them time to mentally and emotionally digest the information.
Don’t Tell Them Unnecessary Secrets
Many adoptions are carried out for very personal reasons. Some parents are not able to have more children or might be considering adopting the child of a friend or family member. Throughout the family law work process involved in the adoption, there may also be issues which you should not discuss with children. If there are secrets that must remain quiet, it is best not to tell younger children. Parents should assume that anything they say to their kids will not remain a secret.
Prepare Them for the Home Study
The current adoption process is quite thorough, and it will almost always include at least a handful of home studies. This is a period in which an adoption specialist or social worker will observe you and your family at home. You should prepare your children for this and tell them that they will most likely be asked quite a few questions. Children should always be told that there are no right answers and they should speak as freely and honestly as possible.
Prepare Them for Intrusive and Uncomfortable Questions
It is an unfortunate fact that many children will be asked uncomfortable questions from schoolmates, friends, and family members. Parents should continue to tell their kids that they are not obligated to answer those questions at all, especially if they are uncomfortable. This includes questions about the reasons behind the adoption, where the child is coming from, and who the child’s biological parents are.
Adopting can take a considerable amount of time, and parents don’t want to get their children excited only to find out that the final adoption date is quite a ways off. Your kids should be told that this is an open-ended process and not be given specific dates.