Preparing Siblings for Adoption

Around the time G joined school, all her besties were having brand new siblings. She informed us that all they did was poop and sleep, and that she’d rather have a puppy.

The infants slowly grew more interesting to these lofty preschoolers. At 3, G was saying things like, “Maybe we can bring home a dog and a baby. Also a crocodile would be fun.”

That was our cue to talk to her about adoption. She already knew about different kinds of births, so discussing the different ways in which families form was fairly straightforward. She didn’t have any preconceived notions, so she took us at face value when we said adoption was as natural a way of expanding a family as any.

I honestly have no idea how she managed to keep the whole thing to herself for so many years 😅 She didn’t even tell our parents until we brought it up with them later. (Of course we told her first, she’s the one living with us!)

Over the years, we took her on playdates with families who chose to adopt, and had many more opportunities to talk about all that’s involved with bringing home a sibling. We felt it was important to sensitise her to positive adoption language, and set the context that the child we brought home may be scared until he/she got used to us.

G was involved in every step we took, from filling out the online form, to visiting a Specialised Adoption Agency for pre-adoptive counselling. It helped build enthusiasm, but more importantly, it prepared her for what was to come. I believe children deserve an equal seat at the table when it comes to information about things that affect their lives. When they know all they need to, they step up beyond anything you can imagine.

G has been the most resilient, empathetic one among the three of us over the last couple of months! But that’s a story for another day.

For now, if you are planning to adopt, and have a child at home, please note:

  • Indian courts require children over the age of 5 to give written and oral consent to the adoption.
  • As with any sibling coming home, it’s always a good idea to prepare children in advance. The more involved they are in the process, the better!

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