The idea of adopting another member into your family can bring anticipation and excitement. Preparing your other children to welcome a new sibling can help them to feel more confident about the process.
Educating your family ahead of time will also provide your children with the tools they need to help their new sibling feel wanted and loved.
The length of the adjustment period for your family will vary depending on the ages of your children, the age of the new child, personality differences, family dynamics and your home environment among other things. According to Creating a Family, plan to spend a lot of time at home. You will want to stay closer to home in the first several months to normalize the transition and help your new child feel familiar with his or her surroundings.
Before the adoption, talk with your children about some of the challenges that may arise during the adjustment period. You may consider role-playing different scenarios and asking your children how they would respond under certain circumstances. If some of the previously-discussed challenges arise, your children may respond better because they had anticipated the possibilities beforehand.
Talking to your children about adoption is not a one-time discussion. During the adoption process and after you welcome a new child, continue to have open discussions with your family about everyone’s experience. Make time to listen to your children and hear their concerns. Ask for their feedback to assess the most effective ways to respond to their concerns.
Depending on the reactions and behavior of your children, you may consider enrolling them in therapy. Professional therapists can provide support as your family continues to ease into a new normal.