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On the last track, we discussed techniques for breaking the news. This has included the “chair dialogue” technique, the “write a letter” technique, the reflection technique and the rating technique.
Do you have a client who is adopting in addition to having other children already? How do these children respond? On this track, we will discuss preparing siblings. This will include family discussion, the “role-play” technique and when siblings are also adopted. As you listen, compare the techniques you use with those presented on this track.
While the decision to adopt belongs to the parents, taking their other children’s feelings into account can be helpful to those children. In my experience, successful older child adoptions may require additional commitment on the part of the parents, the adopted child, and siblings. Have you found, as I have, that a child who is totally opposed to the idea of a new sibling can disrupt a placement?
Branden and Cathy, both age 44, had two biological children, Chase, age 9, and Libby, age 6. Branden and Cathy were considering adopting a third child. Branden stated, “We know that we definitely need to prepare Chase and Libby for the possibility of adopting another child, but how do we do this?”
I stated, “If Chase and Libby are old enough to comprehend both the rewards and the difficulties coming up in adoption, they may want to voice their opinions.”
Technique for Social Work CEUs, Psychology CEUs, Psychologist CEUs, Counselor CEUs, Addiction Counselor CEUs, and MFT CEUs
3 Ways to Prepare Siblings
#1 Family Discussion
# 2 Technique: Role-play
#3 When Siblings are Also Adopted
I stated, “If Claire is voicing opposition to a possible placement, it could be that she is afraid that a brother will take her place and she will have to leave, or that you will love her less. I have found that this feeling is normal for any child who gets a new sibling, but for an adopted child it may be more intense. Regardless of how irrational Claire’s feelings may seem to you, and maybe even to her, they are very real. Claire may know in her mind that her place in your family is safe, but may feel very differently.”
Have you found, as I have, that many parents and professionals recommend waiting at least a year between adoptions? That way the first child has a chance to adjust before another child joins the family.
I continued to state to Wanda and Cliff, “If Claire is reacting negatively to the idea of a new sibling, you may have to summon up much patience and encouragement to help her through it. I have found that often children will regain their equilibrium after the adoption occurs and they see that their place in the family is secure. But be prepared for some rocky days before and immediately after placement. Being aware of the probability of adoption feelings resurfacing and being willing to discuss them, sometimes repeatedly, with Claire can go a long way toward easing the adjustment.”
Do you have a Cliff or a Wanda whose other children are also adopted? Might he or she benefit from hearing this track? On this track, we have discussed preparing siblings. This has included family discussion, the “role-play” technique and when siblings are also adopted.
On the next track, we will discuss preparing the new child. This will include the “photo album” technique, preparing the child’s room and pre-placement visits.
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