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5 Tips For Helping Your Adopted Child Bond With New Siblings

If you’ve recently adopted a child, you’re understandably elated about this new addition to your family. However, your other children may be less than thrilled by this prospect. They may feel like they’re losing attention from you, and ultimately getting an even smaller piece of the pie. They may also feel that they are less loved in some way and they may feel aggravated and frustrated that they have to share not only your attention, but their room, belongings, and even friends.

On the other side of the coin, your adopted child may feel like a stranger in a strange land, not knowing his exact place in the new family dynamic. Insecurity can abound–on both sides. Fortunately, there are ways you can ease the transition to the change, helping both sets of children connect in a meaningful way that will hopefully have lasting effects. Check out these five tips for helping your adopted child and his new siblings bond.

Prepare Your Children Before the Adoption

Don’t spring the adoption on your children. Instead, after a solid preparation period that involves reading books, preparing your kids for the new addition, and preparing a space for the adopted child that’s all her own, you’ll want to ease that transition into the home with special activities between your newest child and your other children. Let them spend quality time together, just the two of them, with your supervision if necessary. This could involve a play date at the park, a trip to the museum, or a lunch date at a fun indoor playground. Let them explore what common interests they may have, forming a basis for an emotional connection.

Give Each Child Quality Time

Make time for one-on-one interaction. All of your children will feel equally special when you spend time with them separately. Reinforce the message that you love each one of them and praise their special talents and abilities. This shows each child that he is a key part of the family, without always having to be connected to their siblings.  Knowing he has a special place in your home will also allow children to feel less threatened by each other.

Make Memories and Build Traditions

One way to develop a bond is to create memories through new family traditions that involve the adopted child. This may include a special recognition each year of the day your adopted child joined the family, giving something special for all children to participate in.  You can still keep your old traditions, too, but be sure to bring your newest child into the fold, allowing her to add her own contribution to your family story.

Get Support From Experts, Friends, and Groups

Adoption can be a wonderful experience for your family but it can also be fraught with stress and other obstacles, especially in the beginning as everyone adjusts to the new situation. Seek out support from your adoption agency who can help you balance your new and old lives together, leading to a seamless blend of your new family. Check out support groups in your area to meet others in your same situation. You may be able to arrange play dates, outings, etc. with them as well.  This can be beneficial for both you and your spouse as well as your kids.

Find Common Ground

Whether your kids enjoy arts and crafts, electronics, books, or nature hunts, help your kids to develop common core interests that can not only bring them together initially but keep them together as the months and years go on.  Shared interests can be a strong foundation upon which children can learn to love and respect each other.

Blending a family is never easy. But you can aid in the process by following the above tips for easier bonding.  With time and real effort on the part of all family members, everyone will find how much stronger and more vibrant the family has become thanks to the adoption of a child.

Samantha Stainsburry is a freelance blogger from Charlottesville, VA. She’s a major history buff, and loves living in Thomas Jefferson’s hometown. In her free time she enjoys hiking, reading, and finding new music among other things. She recommends The Adoption Professionals if you are considering adoption.

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