Explaining Adoption to Your Other Children

Tips to Help Your Children Understand Adoption

If you are considering placing your second child for adoption (or third, fourth, etc.), have you considered how you will explain this decision to your other children?

This is a very common concern for many women considering or pursuing adoption.

If possible, begin explaining adoption to your children while you are pregnant, and be sure to use age-appropriate language. Be honest with them, but don’t tell them more than they need to know.

Explain how your baby will always be your son or daughter and your children’s brother or sister, but that the baby will be living with another mommy and daddy who are unable to have children on their own.

Your Adoption Specialist will help customize a plan specifically tailored toward explaining adoption to your children. She can also help set up adoption support, training and education for your children, so they better understand the emotions they are feeling and what it’s like to have a brother or sister who is raised in another family.

Some things you are able to do in the meantime include:

Watching Adoption Movies with Your Children

There are many children’s movies that have an adoption theme. Choose movies that are appropriate for your children’s ages, and talk to them about the movie’s adoption theme afterwards. Movies with adoption themes include Hotel for Dogs, The Land Before Time, All Dogs Go To Heaven and Angels in the Outfield. There are countless other adoption-related movies, so search online and find one that you feel is appropriate for your child’s age.

Reading Adoption Books with Your Children

There are also adoption-themed children’s books that may help prepare your children for the adoption. One such book is Sam’s Sister by Juliet C. Bond. This book explains adoption from the perspective of a young girl whose mother places her younger brother for adoption. Sam’s Sister explains adoption in a positive, reassuring manner for young children to understand.

Involving Your Children in the Adoption Process

After you have told your children about your adoption plan, it may be beneficial to involve them in the adoption process. If you feel it is appropriate, include your children in the selection of the adoptive family by helping you look through family print profiles and video profiles. You may even choose to have your child get to know the adoptive family along with you, either over the phone or in person.

Allowing Your Children to Express Their Emotions

While this is an emotional time for you, remember that your children are also most likely experiencing a wide range of emotions. Encourage your children to express their emotions by having them write letters, draw pictures or make crafts for their brother or sister. You may also take your children shopping to allow them to pick out a special stuffed animal, blanket or anything else that would be a meaningful gift. These activities will encourage your children to express their emotions during this time and to give their brother or sister a special keepsake.


After you tell your children about your decision, continue to create a safe environment where they are encouraged to share their feelings and where talking about adoption is OK.

Remind them that it is normal to feel sad. But also remind them all of the good things that will take place in the baby’s life because of the adoption and that the baby will always be their brother or sister, no matter what.

If you would like more detailed information on giving a second child up for adoption or explaining adoption to your children, or if we can help provide free counseling to your child, contact an Adoption Specialist at 1-800-ADOPTION or click the following to receive free adoption information.

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