Blog// LGBT Adoptive Parents

Adoption and Sibling Relationships: Blending Biological and Adopted Children

If you are considering adoption, you may wonder what it would be like to adopt while already having biological children or adopting first and then having biological children after. You may wonder how blending your family with biological and adopted children would affect your children, their relationships with each other and even how they feel in your family. These are all valid and normal thoughts and questions to reckon with. 

Bending families can be beautiful and it can also be hard, but it should not be something to be afraid of. All families look different today and how families are made can be different for everyone whether that is through surrogacy, adoption, donors etc. There is not a “right” or one size fits all approach to having adopted and biological children. Celebrating differences and normalizing experiences of children is important for all families. 

Regardless of how your child enters your family, biologically or through adoption, they have a story that is uniquely their own. The difference for adoptees, especially international adoptees, is that many times they may have limited information surrounding their birth story and biological history. Most adoptees in some capacity, domestic or international, may be missing pieces of information or parts of their story. This can feel and be incredibly challenging for adoptees when they have siblings who know their entire story. As a positive practice, affirm all feelings, even the sad, heavy ones. Your adoptee may have questions they will never be able to get answered or may have to wait to get answered until they are able to connect with their biological ties and this is hard. Developmentally wise, there is something very foundational about knowing one’s story and one’s beginning, and many adoptees will lack that. For adoptive parents, be willing to hold space for your adoptee's experiences and engage their curiosity even if you do not have the answers. 

Additionally, it is important to understand that not all siblings will have the same experiences and feelings about adoption. Both adoptees themselves and their biological siblings can struggle with adoption. It can be challenging for biological siblings to have adopted siblings and this is often not talked about. Biological siblings may struggle with their own feelings of belonging or identity especially if they are the only biological sibling and the rest of their siblings are adopted. They may also feel like the trauma and struggles they have with their own story are not worth sharing because they are not at the same magnitude of their adopted siblings. Biological siblings may not feel safe vocalizing or sharing these feelings, but their feelings matter too. It can be easy to overlook the feelings and experiences of biological siblings in adoptive homes when such a heavy focus is put on supporting adoptees. If your child does not feel they can share with you, encourage them to see a counselor to process and work through this with. 

Lastly, find other families that have both adopted and biological children to walk the journey with you and support you. These families can be incredible resources and are walking a similar story to your own. Allowing them to speak into you and encourage you is going to be immensely beneficial. You can learn from them and pull knowledge from them as you strive to be the best parent. 

Blending biological and adopted children can be a beautiful thing. All children, regardless of how they enter your family will have unique and different needs and tailoring a parental approach to each of your children is critical. Whenever possible, continuing to celebrate differences and affirming feelings, both the joyful and the hard is key. If you need additional resources, reaching out and utilizing the post adoption support through your adoption agency is a great start. 


By: Ramya Gruneisen

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