Friday, October 12, 2012

Preparing Siblings


One of the most common challenges we hear about after parents bring an adopted child home is the struggle children already at home have adjusting to their new brother or sister.  Sometimes it is all about losing the attention they may have exclusively enjoyed; other times it is finding their new spot in birth order.  Jealousy, misbehaving for attention, anger and sadness are very common reactions.  I hear parents say “I expected some of the issues we’ve faced with our adopted child but I had no idea how difficult it would be for my biological child.”

We’ve found several good articles at that address this issue and there are probably many more:

Here is a list of some books written for siblings (ages 3-10) of adopted kids that can be found at many libraries and read with your kids both before and after their newest sibling comes home.  Check them out and let us know if you’ve found any of these to be helpful.

The New Barker in the House
by Tomie dePaola
Is That Your Sister? A True Story of Adoption
by Catherine Bunin 
Waiting for May
by Janet Stoeke
Seeds of Love – For Brothers and Sisters of International Adoption
by Mary Petertyl 
Things Little Kids Need to Know
by Susan Uhlig
A Sister for Matthew
by Pamela Kennedy


Leave a comment and let us know what has helped you in 1) preparing your kids for an adopted brother or sister and 2) helping your children adjust after their sibling came home.  I know there are lots of parents who will appreciate what you’ve found to be helpful!


Heidi said...

After bringing home our youngest daughter from Ethiopia out now "middle" child, who had always been full of joy and free-spirited, became sullen, weepy and withdrawn. In the first two weeks home she cried multiple times a day and would close herself up in her room. A few things made a huge difference for her as she went through the transition. First, my husband and I talked with her about how we understood that this was very hard and felt lonely for her and that more than anything, we were going to pray that she would meet Jesus in a new way through this- that she would know beyond a doubt that even when mommy and daddy couldn't be there for her all the time because we were needed by her younger sister, that she could rely on Jesus- and he would never, ever leave her! Now, a year later our middle daughter is seven and talks often about how Jesus will always be there for her. The journey in those initial weeks home was long and arduous but even our daughter can see now that God was shaping her to depend more and more on Him. And THAT is what we all want for our children!
Also, a close family friend came by the second week we were home with a picnic lunch and a lovely present just for our older children and enjoyed some special time with them on the lawn of our yard. This was an absolute treasure to them (and to me) as we saw our children being showered with love when we were "in the trenches" of establishing trust with our newest addition.

Becky - Adoption Ministry of YWAM Ethiopia said...

Thanks so much, Heidi! I know your experience will bring some encouragement to another family. Bless you!

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