One of the many difficult aspects of adoption is fleshing out the idea of adoption with the rest of your family. It can be even harder trying to navigate how to talk to the children who are already in your home about adding a family member. The aspects of each adoption journey vary and this can make it even harder to know what to do. My two eldest sons, ages 12 and 9, have been a part of two adoption journeys, the first one happening when they were just five and two. My younger two children, my daughter (7) and my son (6), have been a part of their own and each other’s adoption. I wanted this interview to be completely their words and they, unfortunately, delivered. Here is a raw and honest perspective from some wonderful big brothers and their younger siblings on how they now understand adoption and their thoughts on the adoption journey as a whole.
1. What do you know about adoption?
(12-Year-Old) “Adoption is where you adopt a kid when their parents left them. Basically, a new family adopts a kid that was not able to be with their family. It is super sad that mom or dad may have tried to take care of them but couldn’t. Yeah, that’s pretty much it.”
(9-Year-Old) “I don’t know about adoppptttiooon moooommm!” *eye roll* “Ugh. They didn’t come from your belly but they are still my brother and sister. The end.”
(7-Year-Old) “I know that you have to be in there until someone tries to come in and adopt you. I have been to lots of places, but my favorite is this place because I love you guys.”
(6-Year-Old) “You have to move away from your old house and move to a new house with your new family. (He was adopted at birth, but likes to tell stories).
2. Do you remember what you thought about bringing your sister home? Your brother?
(12-Year-Old) “I was thinking, well this is cool. I can’t wait to see the baby. When I saw her, she was super cute and everything. I did miss you guys because I had to be at Grandma’s house. With my brother, at first, I didn’t like the idea of adding more kids because they would play with all my toys. But then I thought to myself when he came home that he was super cute. Then I was super excited.”
(9-Year-Old) “I think I was happy. I was little. Fun.”
(7-Year-Old) “I remember kind of. I was just happy being a big sister and bringing home another baby.”
(6-Year-Old) ” I am the littlest. But if we brought home more, I could bully them.”
3. What is one of the best parts of adoption?
(12-Year-Old) “The best part of adoption is that you get to take in a kid who needs a family and you feel happy about that, giving them a home.”
(9-Year-Old) “The best parts of adoption are having a sister and a brother. They always play games with me.”
(7-Year-Old) “My favorite part is that I get to be in a comfy house with a comfy cozy bed and a nice pillow to sleep on.”
(6-Year-Old) “If you had parents that are mean to you before you might get new parents who are nice.”
4. What are the hardest parts of adoption?
(12-Year-Old) “Just taking care of them honestly. You have to figure out what they like. Then you have to figure out if they have health issues. You’re scared of that. Also, the house is as messy as a tank being in a China shop.”
(9-year-Old) “The hardest part of adoption is sharing my toys and letting them play with me.”
(7-Year-Old) “My personality is different but you treat us the same. I miss my birth parents.“
(6-Year-Old) “If you are born before you are adopted by someone else, you have to go to one home before you go to another house.”
5. What do you wish people understood about adoption?
(12-Year-Old) “It is better if kids have a home because kids get really sad. Everyone else has a home and kids should have a home.”
(9-Year-Old) “I wish people understood that everyone is the same and that anybody can be family. We have a HUGE family!”
(7-Year-Old) “I wish that the people who first put me in foster care would have let me go straight home with you.”
(6-Year-Old) “Snuggling your mom.”
6. Do you want us to adopt again?
(12-Year-Old) “I will give you an age limit of ten. At least ten or higher. Because it is so hard with little kids.”
(9-Year-Old) “Oh yeah! I want another sister. Two sisters! I want four more brothers. No, actually one brother. I want twenty-five brothers. What? Too much?”
(7-Year-Old) “One girl. That’s all. Maybe.”
(6-Year-Old) “Yeah. A new child. I want to be a big brother.”
Clearly, we have some things to discuss and explore. My hilarious kids have an interesting way of viewing the world and adoption. The world can often underestimate the understanding kids have and the valuable input they can provide. Please keep in mind their ages and that we will continue to teach them and they will continue to learn. There is great value in their honesty and knowing their perspectives at this point. I highly encourage anyone considering adoption to talk to your kids often about the process and include them as much as possible. This interview opened a lot of great conversations and helped us to see where our kids are individually. It is also vital to check in long after the process has been completed with all of the kids in the home.