Blog// LGBT Adoptive Parents

Things to Keep in Mind When Adopting Siblings

When it comes to the domestic adoption process, social workers often strive to keep siblings together. Although this makes the transition between homes much easier for the children, it can present adoptive parents with some unique parenting challenges. If you are planning on adopting a set of siblings, here are eleven tips to help make the adoption process a smooth one: 

Interact With the Children As Individuals

One common mistake that adoptive parents of siblings make iis viewing the children as a unit instead of as unique individuals. To prevent this, you should:

 

  • Develop a schedule for spending one-on-one time with each child

  • Anticipate each child reacting differently to the adoption process

  • Limit unsupervised interactions between the siblings and any children already in the home until you have a good idea of how each child responds to the others. 

Form a Support Network

Adopting children is always a stressful experience, and at times you may find it difficult to keep up with your responsibilities as a parent. This is completely normal, and experts recommend lowering your expectations of what you may be able to keep up with for at least 6-12 months after the adoption. In addition, consider taking the following steps to build a healthy support system for yourself and your children: 

 

  • Before the adoption, find therapists for your adoptive children, as they will likely have trauma that you are not equipped to help them process. 

  • Communicate with your social worker about the childrens’ physical health, then identify professionals who can assist with any health problems that you think will likely arise.

  • Establish a roster of reliable friends, family members, and neighbors whom you can ask for help with household tasks (cleaning, yard work, laundry, etc.).

Balance Boundaries With Fun

Finally, as you welcome your adoptive children into your home, you should strive to create a safe, supportive environment in which they feel welcome. This is best achieved by striking a balance between healthy boundaries and family fun. Here are some ways you might establish this balance: 

 

  • Before the adoption, discuss your boundaries with your social worker, including behaviors you absolutely cannot handle. If the children present these behaviors, it may be best for all parties if they are adopted into a different family. 

  • If you already have children in the house, get them involved in the process of welcoming their new siblings home. 

  • Understand that your children will likely grieve the loss of their biological family/previous home, and present them with a safe space in which to process that grief. 

  • Recognize that your children may have triggers that are specifically related to the holidays, and communicate with them to help limit stressors surrounding the experience.

  • Every week, schedule a fun, inexpensive activity that the whole family will enjoy. This will help reinforce the idea for your children that your home is a safe, enjoyable place. 

Overall, adopting siblings can be challenging, but it is also incredibly rewarding. By engaging with each child as an individual, forming a steady support network, and creating both boundaries and opportunities for fun, you will help ensure that your children feel loved and welcomed in your home. 

 

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