It is imperative to use proper language and great care when discussing adoption in any terms with any individual. It is so easy to use verbiage about adoption that can be damaging to any member of the triad, especially to an adopted child. When speaking with your biological children about their adopted sibling, it is often easy to focus on how to include the sibling and not make them feel like less of a member of the family. However, there is a fine line between including the child and pretending it never happened. The child should be treated as if they were born into the family, and adoption should be a joy.
There are different stages in time that you will talk to your biological children about their adopted sibling and the conversations will vary based on the children’s ages. My biological children were younger than five when we adopted. While we discuss adoption often, they do not comprehend from where their siblings came. As they grow, it will hopefully be normal. We want to give them a sense that their siblings, who were adopted, are a part of our family, but that we also celebrate and have a relationship with their birth family.
If you have a biological child who is old enough to understand the concept of adoption, be honest and be clear; be willing to answer any question he may have. Talking to your biological children about the adopted sibling will be about helping them reconcile that the child you adopted is part of your family as well as part of his birth family. If we dismiss adoption and explain that “he was for us, someone else just gave birth to him,” it dismisses his birth family and part of what makes an adoptee who he is. Honoring adoption while stressing the importance of equality to your biological children will be key in discussing your child who was adopted and his place in your family.
Lita Jordan is a master of all things “home.” A work-from-home, stay-at-home, homeschooling mother of five. She has a BA in Youth Ministry from Spring Arbor University. She is married to the “other Michael Jordan” and lives on coffee and its unrealistic promises of productivity. Lita enjoys playing guitar and long trips to Target. Follow her on www.facebook.com/halfemptymom/.