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Growing A Blended Family

Parents come to the decision to adopt in many different ways. Sometimes adoption is the only option, and sometimes adoption is combined with the ability to have children biologically. Whatever brings a family to this point in their own unique path, it’s important to understand the different aspects that come into play when building your own blended family. All children can thrive of course, but a little preparation and understanding can make your experience even smoother.

As with all adoptions, the more information you can obtain about your child’s emotional and medical histories, the better. This can help you anticipate behaviors, challenges, and even strengths in your new child, as well as to help your other children understand situations they may be encountering for the first time.

As is often the case when a new child enters the family, the existing children may fear not being loved, or have feelings of anxiety and confusion. Those are completely normal and a part of the process. Children may ask tough questions, and they deserve honest answers. Age-appropriate language and discussions will support positive communicate with your child(ren), including explaining to them why some parents are unable to care for their children at certain points in their life, and why some people become the families of children through adoption.

Including your children in the process of bringing another child into the home goes a long way to ensure trust and support. It may never be perfect, but information, awareness, and agency are always key. Let your children get to know each other in their own time — you don’t want to force new relationships. Love Builds Families shares wonderful advice about encouraging your children to head up a craft or think of a gift to welcome their new sibling, so they feel more included in the process. Another way to promote engagement is to have weekly meetings where family members are free and open to ask questions, express frustration, or gain clarity. Communication is key when going through a big transition like this. Allowing everyone to have a voice will only open those channels more.

Finally, it’s important to know that you’re never alone. If this transition is more difficult than you expected, reach out to a professional for guidance. Children especially struggle with big changes. If there is a noticeable change in their behavior, never be afraid or ashamed to seek a professional’s advice. Be honest and upfront with the struggles that come from creating a strong family — they’re more common than you think. And know that no matter what, you’ve got this.