If you have a blended family, adopting your stepchildren may be high on your priority list. After all, a legal adoption gives you valuable rights and responsibilities. Even if your stepchildren are mostly amenable to the adoption, though, you may find it difficult to talk to them about it.
According to Psychology Today, stepchildren can struggle to feel accepted in blended families. They also may be reluctant to go through with a legal adoption, especially if their biological parent is still alive and well. How you talk to your stepkids about the adoption may make all the difference.
Recognize their emotions
Your stepchildren may not want to talk about the adoption or they may be eager to do so. Either way, you should recognize their emotions as legitimate and valid. By talking through your stepkids’ feelings, you are likely to have a better idea about addressing them.
You may need some professional help, though. It is not uncommon for blended families to work with experienced family counselors in the lead-up to an adoption. These professionals have a variety of tried-and-true techniques that may help everyone in your family to get on the same page.
Do not rush the discussion
Kids tend to open up only when they are ready to do so. If your stepkids seem to shut down when you talk to them about the adoption, it may be wise to have a series of shorter conversations. Moreover, you may find it helpful to work your adoption conversation into other discussions with which your stepkids are more comfortable.
Ultimately, because you are going to have a lifetime with your stepchildren, having patience and compassion when talking about the upcoming adoption may keep you from alienating them.