There’s plenty of help out there regarding talking with your adopted kids about adoption. But what about your biological children? What do they need to know, and how do you talk with them about adoption in a way that they will understand and find useful? These tips may be helpful as you prepare your biological children to welcome home a new adopted sibling:

  • Learn appropriate adoption language and teach your children the same. For your adopted child’s benefit as well as teaching your children proper adoption etiquette, take time to learn phrases such as “she placed her child for adoption” rather than “she gave him up” or “he was put up for adoption.” 
  • Tell your children what you know about the birth family. Include positive things that you assume without actually knowing. Things like “her birth mother really loves him and wants him to have a sister like you.” When talking with your biological children about birth families, teach them that lots of people love their new sibling, and that your family is especially blessed because he will now be a part of your family. 
  • If your adopted child is a different race than the biological children, teach your children about their new sibling’s race, nationality, ethnicity, and culture. Prepare your children to celebrate the differences while being inclusive. Teach them that different doesn’t mean incapable, unable, or unwanted, but rather, it means excitement, variety, and new opportunities.
  • Talk about the need for all of us to feel loved. Your biological children may experience some jealousy, but if they understand the potential sadness, fright, trauma or other negative emotions their new sibling may have, it’s likely they will be eager to help nurture him or her.
  • Include your children in the physical preparation. Do you need to buy baby items like a car seat and formula? Maybe the room needs a bunkbed to accommodate their new older sibling. Whatever physical work needs to be done, include your biological children and talk about how wonderful it is that your family is growing

Ultimately, honesty and openness will be the success tools that will help your biological children adjust to the adoption.  Encouraging questions and answering them promptly and completely will help your biological children be well prepared to welcome a new family member!