How do/would you talk with children about siblings in open adoption? How do you approach this as a (first or adoptive) parent, or how was it handled in your family if you grew up with siblings who didn't live with you? For prospective adoptive parents or first parents without other children, has this been something you've thought about how you would approach?
Liam’s older brother was 3 when he was born. I told Liam about his brother the first night that we stayed in the hospital and I walked the halls with him. At that time I had hopes that this would be an open adoption and that he would grow up knowing his brother and having a relationship with him. Alas, that was not to be (yet, fingers always crossed that things will change). We’ve always been open with Liam, telling him what we know about his siblings (he also has a younger sister now) and sharing pictures of them with him; he has pictures of both of them up on his bedroom.
He’s never been confused by the fact that he has siblings that he doesn’t live with. He often gets frustrated with adults who can’t seem to keep up with the story line. One day a hairdresser asked Liam if he had any brothers or sisters. She got a whole dialogue about who is who and who lives where and how Liam has never met his siblings, but that they are still his brother and sister. For some reason she didn’t ask him more questions after that one.
Liam has not asked the “difficult” question yet – Why did “K” keep “C” and “J” and not me? I think that it may be due in part to the fact that we talk openly and frequently about his family, the circumstances of his birth and adoption and how things change. I also think that having always talked about his siblings has made them just a part of his reality. There was never a sudden let’s-sit-down-and-talk moment of them being revealed to him. We answer questions as best we can and we remember them on birthdays and holidays. We may not know them but they are still Liam’s family.
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