How Do I Tell My Children I’m Placing This Baby For Adoption?
There are many reasons an expectant mother considers adoption. You may have children already and do not feel that parenting another child at this time would be the best thing for your family or the baby. Once you make this decision, you can move forward to choosing the parents for your child and completing your adoption plan. This does lead to the question, “What do I tell my other children?”
Before you tackle this subject with your children, you will want to prepare. You will need a plan, as this will be a sensitive subject. Think about bringing up the subject of adoption in a general way so that your children will better understand what adoption is. Not sure how to bring up the subject? Watching age-appropriate movies like one of these might help.
You may also want to speak with a professional counselor for some advice. They can help you explain in an age-appropriate way why adoption is the right thing for this baby. The counselor can also prepare you for common questions and how to deal with your children’s reactions.
Being open and honest is going to be very important. How much you explain and share will depend on the age of your other children. An older child will want to know in more detail why their sibling is going to be adopted and how it is all going to work, while a younger child will need to know that their younger sister or brother is going to live with a loving family that want a baby so much and are going to love and take care of your baby. If you will have an open adoption and the adoptive parents are open to allowing the siblings to have contact, you can let your children know that they will see their sibling again.
Be honest with your feelings, as well. You can let them know of placing your baby for adoption makes you sad, too, but you know it is the best thing to do for everyone. Your children should feel safe expressing their feelings, and they should know they are being heard. Remember, you are ahead of the game here. You have given your decision a lot of thought and come to terms with the adoption plan. Your kids are just finding out and will have to work through their emotions as well.
Let Them Be Part of the Adoption
You will choose adoptive parents that have similar hopes for contact after the adoption. Let your children know what that contact will look like. Show them the profile of the adoptive family, perhaps even set up a meeting if possible. Don’t avoid the subject, let them ask all the questions they want and answer them as best you can. This is a family situation, and they should feel like an important part of the process.
Children tend to have some insecurities, and they will internalize these feelings. When a sibling is being placed for adoption, it is not uncommon to wonder if they might be placed for adoption next. As you go through this process, you will need to let them know in every way you can think of that they are not going anywhere. Let them know you are a family unit, and that is not going to change. Explain that you feel this baby is meant to be with this adoptive family and that their place in the family is secure.
Raina had three children, and her husband had left her. She was pregnant and knew that she did not have the money, energy, or emotion to start raising an infant. She decided on adoption and told her children. Her youngest, who was three, was sad she wouldn’t get to play with the baby but seemed to handle it well enough. David, her oldest, was angry at first. He couldn’t understand how she could “give away her baby.” Some yelling and lots of talking later, he came to accept it, and while he wasn’t exactly happy about the situation, he did come to understand it was the best for the baby and the family. In dealing with all this, she noticed her middle child, Nala, was very quiet. She wasn’t crying. She wasn’t yelling, so at first, Raina was relieved. Then came the night she went to tuck her in and saw a bag packed under her bed. Raina asked why all of Nala’s favorite clothes and toys were in a bag, and Nala explained she wanted to be ready when she had to go to a new family.
Sometimes it is as important to hear what your children are not saying as much as what they are saying. This is a good time to find some adoption books to read to your children. Sam’s Sister is a great book and any other adoption books . The story doesn’t have to be exactly like your story, but it will show your children that adoption is part of many families’ stories. Understanding adoption better and the language of adoption will help them if they get questions from friends or family about why their sibling was placed for adoption. The saying “Knowledge is Power” is very true in this case.
Hang in There
The adoption process is emotional, and when you add having to explain your decision to your other children, it can seem overwhelming. Know that you will get through this, and they will come to understand. Seek help. Talk to your adoption counselor, ask for professional and peer counseling. Don’t try to handle everything yourself. You are making a brave and selfless decision that is in the best interest of your current children and baby on the way. Be proud, and don’t be afraid to lean on others for some strength.
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