Five Tips For Adopting A Child Into A Large Family
In 2015, the total number of intercountry adoptions in the U.S. was 5648, according to a report from the Bureau of Consular Affairs. When most people think of an adoptive family, they usually envision families where a child is adopted because the parents couldn’t have biological kids. But the truth is that many families have both adopted and biological children. Whether inter-country adoptions or domestic adoptions, many parents choose to integrate children into their existing families.
Adoption Into Large Families
Parents with both adopted and biological children are faced with the unique challenge of blending, especially when the family is already large. Adoptive parents need to lay down specific rules for the children while giving them a sense of love and security, which may have been missing from their lives. The Ness family from Hebron is made up of 14 children, out of which 11 are adopted.
The Sheppard family from Hillsboro is made up of 14 children, out of which 12 are adopted. Families with several children are rare but not uncommon in this day and age, and integrating children into your existing family requires you to strike the right balance. Here’s what you can do to ensure a harmonious and happy family life for your large family.
- Never Favor Some Kids Over Others
As parents, you’re aware of both your children by adoption and biological children. Your attitude bleeds over to your them. They mimic not only your behavior but also your conversation and attitude. When you reach a position of remaining impartial to all your kids, they will mimic the same behavior.
Through your actions and words, don’t give special status to some kids over others when you’re trying to find a way to blend your family together. Yes, some kids may need more attention over time, but find a way to help your other kids understand that without feeling resentful.
- Bring Your Entire Family Together From The Start
Once you decide to pursue adoption, be sure to invite your children into the conversation. Help your existing children anticipate the behavior your newly adopted child might exhibit. Allow them to hear your vision and your expectations. Let them express their thoughts, ideas and concerns. By giving them a platform to participate, you help them feel like an important part of the process. This will ensure you maintain a healthy and vibrant relationship with all of your children.
- Slowly Transition New Kids Into Your Family
You and your existing family need to get to know your child by adoption, so spending time with them to understand their behavior is vital. You must understand their likes and dislikes before finding a way to transition this into the family. Be patient because the transition will not happen overnight. In fact, it may take a while, but you must be prepared for that.
- Accept That Children Have Individual Personalities
You must understand that all kids have their own personality, so you must help your children to accept each other completely. This means temperaments, physical differences, talents, abilities, and disabilities. If your kids have some sibling rivalry, don’t worry too much because it is normal. But if you notice major personality changes and behavior problems like strong temper tantrums or complete withdrawal, then you must address them immediately. When children are accepted and loved completely by their parents, they will be by their siblings as well.
- Prepare Your Kids For Added Attention
If you’ve gone through inter-country adoption, then your children are likely of a different race. AdoptionsFromTheHeart.com states that once a Caucasian family, for example, adopts a child of a different race, they are no longer a “White Family”, they are a multi-racial family. This means that your children are going to look different from you.
Here’s what you can do to help your kids prepare for the added attention:
- Find moments to highlight the beauty of color, culture, and race that make your family incredible.
- Show them that different color and culture is nothing to be ashamed of.
- Establish a healthy dose of pride in the people who make your home special.
- Help educate your family on the characteristics of color, race, and social implications and more.
It is important to teach all of your kids to appreciate the culture and context of their origin. Whether you’re a small or large family, the goal should be to ensure that everyone is happy and healthy in an enabling environment. Consider how you can implement these tips into your home to help you family blend and bond with each other. Always focus on creating a proactive and healthy family life for the good of your children by adoption and biological children.
Author Maxine Chalker Bio:
Maxine Chalker is the founder and Executive Director of Adoptions From The Heart. She holds a MSW and LSW which she uses to give adoption a new face by breaking down the barriers and taking some of the mystery out of the adoption process. Chalker was also adopted.Google+