Many birth mothers who place a child for adoption are either parenting other children while making an adoption plan or go on to parent other children in the future. Whether you are parenting before making an adoption plan or hope to parent a child in the future, wondering about how to have those conversations with your children may feel overwhelming. You do not have to figure out those conversations alone. Here are some general guidelines that may help you feel more confident in discussing adoption with your children.
Share Honestly with Your Children
Kids are intuitive, and they often pick up on more than we realize. Be honest with your children about your adoption plan and share why you believe adoption is best for the child and your family in an age-appropriate way. Creating an environment for open communication will also show your children that they can speak openly with you about their thoughts, questions, and feelings. If you have a child after making an adoption plan, find ways to share with your child about their biological sibling from a young age. By talking about your adoption plan when your child is young, this can be a normal part of their life and family instead of being surprised by this information later down the road.
Find Ways for Your Children to Be Involved in Your Adoption Plan
Let your children be involved in aspects of the adoption, both before and after placement, if they would like. Some expectant mothers may have an older child who wants to look at family profiles with them. Consider asking your children if they want to draw a picture for the baby to have or pick out a special gift to give the baby at placement. Some children may want to provide the adoptive family with pictures of themselves for the baby to have. If you have an open adoption, consider involving your children in your visits or contact with the adoptive family. Maybe your children want to help bake a cake each year to celebrate the child’s birthday, hang an ornament with the child’s picture on it up at Christmas, or take part in some other tradition to commemorate the child.
Assure Your Children of Their Security
Assure your children that they will remain with you and will not be adopted with their sibling. Remind them that this is a decision that you think is best for the baby and for them. Remind them that you are not going anywhere and that they will continue to live with you. Reassure your kids that they have not done anything wrong, and they are always welcome to ask you questions as they come up.
Don’t Be Afraid to Seek Outside Help
The topic of adoption is a big one, and there are resources out there to help! Depending on the age of your children, consider using books such as Sam’s Sister or The Mulberry Bird to start the conversation. Finding a counselor for your child before and/or after placement could be another way for them to learn how to process their emotions in a healthy way. Similarly, attending family therapy together could be beneficial for both you and your children.
Although these conversations may feel hard, they will be beneficial for your children in the long run. In a world with social media and DNA testing, few things truly stay secret. By having these conversations with your children early, you can create an environment where your children know they can ask you questions, deepening the trust between you and your children. Your Nightlight pregnancy counselor is also available to discuss the specific needs of your children as you prepare to share with them about your adoption plan.
By: Lindsay Belus