Parenting > Adoption
Introducing an Adopted Child to your Family
Sibling rivalry – old as the moon and constant as
the sun. Every family with more than one child will at some time,
in some way experience conflict between brothers and sisters. So,
it’s no surprise to learn that some rivalry is bound to happen
when you adopt a child.
Normally, the children in the adopting home are
very excited to know they’re soon going to have a new brother or
sister. They can play a large part in making the new sibling feel
at home. But differences will come out and cause tension no matter
how hard everyone tries to get along. Problems will vary depending
on the ages of the children at home and their ability to
understand and reason.
There are many things a parent can do to ease the
transition. The most important thing is to keep the lines of
communication free and open. Keep your expectations at a
reasonable level. Rivalry is something you will naturally
encounter on and off for many years to come, and although you can
certainly tame the monster, you’ll never be able to destroy it
completely, no matter how hard and wisely you fight the battle.
Here are a few things you can do to make life a
little easier in this transitional period.
• Prepare your children for the arrival of their
new sibling. Draw on their compassion by helping them understand
how lost, lonely, afraid and upset their new sibling is probably
• Teach them the blessed gift of silence. Tell
them to respect one another and to not badger the adopted child
about his/her previous life.
• Encourage your children to be good role models.
Even if they are younger than the adopted sibling, they can
display good behavior, respect and kindness to their new
• Teach your children the importance of
confidentiality. Families should practice the sacred rule of “what
is spoken here stays here”. Everyone should know that their trust
will never be betrayed.
• Strive to spend quality time with your
biological children and reassure them that your love is not
limited. With some planning and forethought, the transition should
be a smooth one for all.