Having one or more siblings is probably one of the best parts of growing up in a happy and healthy family! You have people you can play with, talk with, share secrets with, eat with and do many more fun things together. It’s like you have someone you can count on and be on each other’s sides no matter what. The love of siblings is like no other!
What if the case is a new child is arriving to your family, and that child is your adopted child? How will your existing children react and feel? How would they take the news?
Adding a child to your family through adoption alters the dynamics for everybody in the family, but most particularly and mainly for the children who are already in your home. Honestly, it can give you some stress because the adjustments and the changes that might happen will not be a piece of cake. Especially when your existing kids are quite old or mature enough to emotionally be affected by the adoption situation, it would be hard. That’s why you have to be prepared and to be open-minded about your kids’ feelings and responses.
Say your adopted child is a newborn baby, and you have existing kids which are not yet teenagers. You have to make sure that you will help your children prepare themselves for the arrival of an adopted younger sibling. For you to be able to do that well, here are 6 tips that will aid you nicely.
 LET THE CHILDREN UNDERSTAND.
Miscommunications and confusions always arise when there is a lack of understanding and information. Keep in mind that it is not surprising if your children react negatively to the news of an adopted kid coming into your family. That would most likely happen too if you have only one existing kid. Why? It could be a reason for jealousy. Because of that, making the kid/s understand why there’s someone arriving is very important.
Talk to them about the reason for adoption. If you and your spouse want a bigger family, let your kids know that it’s what you want and that you want them to have another sibling. If they have questions, answer them properly. If they have violent reactions because of it, calm them down, and do your best to make them appreciate them. They might just need a few more time to comprehend.
Of course, it would be best if you will let your kids understand before you even finalize adoption papers with a child adoption lawyer. In that way, you would know if it’s going to be favorable for your family, considering the thoughts and feelings of your existing kids.
If there’s anyone who could talk heart to heart with your children to give them awareness and make them fully understand the decision for adopting a new kid, it’s the parents.
 INCLUDE THEM IN FAMILY MEETINGS.
Do not exclude your children in family meetings about adoption matters. They have to know your ideas and discussions regarding the adoption of a new child. If you keep them strictly away, they might think that you are hiding something from them, that you really want a new kid because they are “not enough”. Kids think as kids, so be mindful about how they feel even in family meetings wherein they could be involved in as well.
If you and your spouse are meeting with a child adoption lawyer or a social worker, letting your children participate might be helpful. They can also be interviewed, so you will know their thoughts, feelings and perspective about it. Their questions can be professionally and clearly answered too.
It is better to have an open communication including your existing children, so they will also be on the same page as you. They will not feel lost at the arrival of an adopted newborn baby.
Especially when it’s a newborn, surely, more attention will be paid to him/her. You would not want your existing children to think, “What’s happening? Why is that baby getting my parents’ attention more than I am having?” Making them engaged in family meetings that tackle these subjects also composes them prepared for the possibilities.
 INVOLVE THEM IN PREPARATIONS.
It’s exciting for parents when a newborn baby is approaching, but for existing children, it could be the opposite, especially when they are not emotionally ready for it. The thought of being no longer the only child or no longer the only children of their parents could show disagreeable effects from these kids.
What parents could do to avoid these negative situations is to, after making them understand, involve them in all preparations. Like what? Cleaning and decorating the room that the baby is going to use. It’s a time that both of you will definitely enjoy. Your kids will have fun and will realize that it’s fun to prepare for a new sibling.
Buy baby items, clothes and toys with your kids. Let them choose also, so that they’d feel excited and contributing to the addition to the family! It will make them feel that their desires and choices are valid and helpful too. In that way, you are also preparing them as they become an older brother or sister.
 MAKE THEM FEEL LOVED AS THEY ARE.
There is a tendency that existing kids will feel jealous towards the adopted newborn baby. First, it’s a baby, and they are aware that babies need a lot of time and attention from parents. They might hate the idea. Second, these kids might think that you do not love them anymore because you had to make another baby. They are still young, so insecurities as kids are present.
Prevent this from happening because if you will not, it will cause many challenges to you as parents and problems to your family relationship in general. This may lead existing children to grow apart or feel distant. Do not let that happen by making sure that they feel loved as they are!
Remove the doubts that these children have — “Maybe I’m too naughty that’s why mom doesn’t love me anymore.” “I am probably not good enough.” “I’m not a smart kid, that’s why.” Be certain that even though there could be changes brought about by the arrival of an adopted newborn, your existing kids will not be forgotten and left out.
Still give them the attention and affection they have been receiving. There will be changes to the family dynamics, but see to it that you will not make it hard for your children. Being fair to all kids is one of the best ways to make them feel loved. Don’t forget to check your love meter for everyone.
 PLAY SIBLING ROLES.
Adopting a newborn and taking him/her to your family is similar to giving birth to a newborn and welcoming him/her to the world. To prepare your existing children, you can do role playing just as an actual biological sibling.
You can role play sibling interactions with their toys. Red books about siblings. Make them watch movies about siblings. These things will help you help them appreciate more the arrival of the adopted baby. You will make them feel early that they can be a good and sweet big brother or sister to their soon-to-come younger sibling.
This makes the adjustment easier to handle and more familiar than when they will just be surprised without knowing what to do and how to do it. When they play these roles, they will even be more excited, looking forward to the newborn’s coming in. They will feel they have a meaningful role and contribution as an older sibling now and will not think that they are left out.
 BE HONEST WITH THEM.
When there is a newborn baby, there will be changes with the time allotted for the existing children. There will be adaptations too that might cause discomfort or inconvenience to the kids at some point. If ever there really would be, be honest with them. Do not hide them from your kids. Do not assure them that nothing will change if you expect that there will be some.
Being honest with your present children will help both parents and kids to be able to balance everything well. A harmonious family is achievable with everybody’s collective efforts and desire to make the whole team blissful and healthy.
Indeed, adding an adopted newborn to a household with an existing child or children can be quite nerve-racking in many ways, yet it also gives a brighter joy to the already gleeful family you got there!
As parents, you can surely bring closely together your existing kids and your adopted child as you yourselves set the example of being loving and lovable people! Regardless if they are siblings by blood or by legal adoption, they will be able to share the love you have taught and shared to them!
Make them truly know that if you have a sibling, it’s like you have an instant best friend for life! Even if there are times you fight and quarrel over food or toys, nobody’s like your sibling, and no one’s going to fight for you like a sibling does.
Nicole Ann Pore is a writer, an events host and a voice over artist. Travel, health, shopping, lifestyle and business are among the many subjects she writes about. She is a daytime writer for Adams Lawyers, a team of professionals that offer well-rounded service for all legal needs. Nicole graduated Cum Laude from De La Salle University Manila, Philippines with a Bachelor’s Degree in Communication Arts.