When most people think of adoption, they usually imagine a young woman in her teens or someone who’s never had children before. But in reality, it’s not uncommon for women considering adoption to have other children that they are raising in their home. If you’re in a similar situation, it’s normal to worry, “How will I tell my children that I’m considering placing their sibling up for adoption?”
\You are not alone if you are asking yourself this tough question or if you know someone who is considering adoption for their unplanned pregnancy. Learning how to explain putting a baby up for adoption to your older kids is never easy. But even so, there are tips that can help you start this difficult conversation. Whether you’re putting a second child up for adoption, or considering “giving a third child up” for adoption, we’ve listed a few things that can help.
But if you’d like to start talking about adoption with an adoption agency, you can fill out our online form to get free information.
How Can I Start Talking About Putting My Second Child Up for Adoption?
If you are placing your child for adoption and need help explaining the situation to his or her siblings, consider the following guidelines to help you with your discussion:
- Be open and honest– Any time you’re talking with children about adoption, you should be honest from the beginning. Just as adoptive parents should openly discuss their child’s adoption story with him or her early on, you should introduce the topic of adoption to your children sooner rather than later. If possible, begin explaining your decision and the adoption process while you are pregnant.
- Use age-appropriate language– While you should always be honest with your children about adoption, you shouldn’t overwhelm them with information. For very young children, it might be best to tell them that you had to make a hard decision but that the new baby can’t live with you. Instead of trying to explain the complexities of “giving a second child up” for adoption, you might simply tell them that there is another family that needs the baby because they can’t have one on their own.
- Share your feelings– For many birth moms and women considering adoption, adoption is a subject that brings up a wide range of emotions — sometimes all at once. Instead of hiding this from your children, let them know that it is okay to feel a mix of emotions. Tell them that you are having difficult feelings, too, even though you are confident with your decision of putting your second child up for adoption.
- Respect your children’s feelings– Your adoption will have an impact on your children, and it’s important to let them know that you are there to help them with any difficult feelings they might be having. Listen as they process the news of the adoption and express their own feelings. Let them ask questions, and tell them you understand their sadness, frustration or anger.
- Reassure them– Adoption is a difficult concept to process for young minds. It can be difficult to discuss your decision with them when you have a second baby but want to “give them up” for adoption. Assure your children that you love them and that you also love the baby you are placing very much. Tell them that they are safe in your home and that you will continue to take care of them while someone else takes care of their sibling. Remind them that the baby will always be your son or daughter and their brother or sister, no matter what.
Using these guidelines, it may be helpful to write out some of your thoughts before sharing them with your children. If you need ideas for how to bring up the topic of “Can I give my third baby up for adoption?” in conversation, talk with your adoption specialist, counselor or another adoption professional for help developing a plan.
Continuing to Talk About Adoption
As you go through the process of giving third child up for adoption, it is important to keep communication open. Continue to share your feelings with your children and invite them to do the same. It may help to make adoption a normal part of everyday life and conversation. Books and movies can be a great way to help introduce adoption to your children. While it may be difficult to find a story that perfectly mirrors your adoption journey, these books and movies may be a good place to start:
Please don’t forget that you have people you can talk to about the adoption, too. Your adoption professional, for instance, is always ready to listen and can help talk you through all of your options. There is a lot you have to consider when it comes to placing a child for adoption, so having someone you can lean on can be a huge help. As Casey had to do when she was considering adoption for her twins, you really have to make sure this is the right option for you:
“You’re going to have to sleep at night with the decision you made,” Casey said. “So if someone is trying to persuade you to do it or not do it, you need to ultimately make that decision yourself, and you need to really sit down and think about what’s best for your child.
“Yes, we want to be in our children’s life,” Casey added. “But we need to put what is best for our children first, even if it means being the birth parent, not being able to be there, physically, for every moment. We can’t allow those selfish wants to get in the way of our children’s future.”
- Sam’s Sister by Juliet C. Bond
- The Rainbow Egg by Linda Hendricks
- The Mulberry Bird by Anne Braff Brodzinsky
Based on your child’s age and their feelings toward “giving baby up” for adoption if you already have kids, it might also be beneficial to involve them in the process. Have them write letters or draw pictures to send with the baby, let them help you choose a special gift to give or contribute to a keepsake book. If you feel comfortable with it, you might even let them help look through print and video profiles and meet the adoptive family. Including your children in the adoption process can help make them feel important and give them a sense of stability and control.
As you read more about adoption and talk with your adoption professional, you will hear that adoption is a lifelong process. The same is true for your children. No matter what happens, this baby will always be connected to you and your family, and his or her adoption will have a lifelong impact on all of you. Continue to create an environment where it is okay to talk about adoption and share feelings.
If you’re looking for more information on how to tell your older children that you’re considering adoption, we’d be happy to help. You can fill out our free information form any time to get more information and helpful advice on what to do next when it comes to giving second child up for adoption.