The excitement brought about by the addition of a new child in the family never gets old, even with a first child or subsequent children. However, the spotlight is mostly on the new addition – with the existing children just being in the background. The same thing is true when you already have children and you decide to work with A Act of Love Adoptions for a domestic infant adoption. The excitement at the prospect of a baby brother or sister can turn to jealousy and insecurity if you are not careful.
Make the first steps towards building a strong foundation for your children. These steps can strengthen the bonds between siblings and provide more sibling revelry than sibling rivalry in the future. Here are a few things to do to help prepare your child for a new sibling:
– Discuss your desire to grow the family. In the eyes of a child, everything is about them. Hence, your desire to have another child may lead to your existing child’s thinking that maybe his presence is not enough. Redirect your child to see a bigger picture, from the viewpoint of the family as a whole.
– Talk to your child about adoption. Whether your existing child is biological or adopted, he may still need a deeper understanding of how a act of love adoption works. If your child is also adopted, you can outline the similarities and differences of this adoption. One good way to open up a conversation about adoption is to read bedtime stories that cover the topic of adoption.
– Keep your child in the thick of things. Do not make your child a spectator of all that is happening. Involve him in the preparations and take time to discuss the process with him so that he knows what to expect with a act of love adoption. You can also point out ways he could help. For instance, you can give him a “speaking part” in your family video or get him to help in decorating the nursery. Once the baby comes, give him some “big brother” responsibilities such as preparing the baby’s things during his bath.
– Set reasonable expectations for your child. Remember, even after you have taken the baby home, it will likely be some time before the adoption is finalized. Depending on the state where the adoption occurred, the birthparents may still be able to change their mind even after you have taken the baby home.
– Treat your children equally. Do not make distinctions between your biological and adopted children. If your existing child is a biological child, be careful about saying that the newly adopted baby is “special”. Doing so can put unnecessary pressure on the sibling to continue being “special”.
– Give your child the reassurance he needs. Make it clear to your existing child that his place in the family is secure. The new baby is not there to take his place in your heart and in the family. Explain that love has the magical power of being able to expand to fully embrace each member. The more family members you have, the more love can multiply.
– Go out on dates with your older child. Do this while you are waiting to bring your baby home, and most especially when his baby sibling has arrived. Make your child feel that your one-on-one time with him is one of your priorities.