A special request for any advice on how to prepare our 8 year old birth child that she MIGHT have a sibling some time in the future.
She knows we are thinking about adoption and she is very keen and on board but I want to help her to explore it mentally and practically before we get to the end of this process. The whole thing - sharing, expectations, disaapointments etc. Any advice, please?
Such a good question, Italiangreyhound, and I wish I could help but as my dd1 was only 4 when dd2 arrived, it was quite different. I don't know how much preparation we did, really - we obviously discussed it with her lots. We tried not to romanticise what it would mean for her. At her age, she might benefit from talking to another children with a younger adopted sibling? Here's an idea: if you're in London, you could meet up with us one day, and she could talk with my 7yo dd about what it's like to have an adopted little sister...
Talk, talk, talk. And always use the "might" word, rather than "when". (DS started to roll his eyes in the end, because we hammered this point home so hard!)
Be clear that she won't get to pick her brother or sister, but talk about whether she would like a boy or girl what sort of things they could do together etc. Also, talk about how she might feel having to share you and your husband. Talk little and often, rather than one or two big sessions.
Think carefully about what you tell them when. We only told DS when we had been through a stage successfully - eg after panel approved us. And definitely only told him about DD when we had been approved and introductions agreed (one of the best moments of our life. He was literally speechless)
DS is nearly 7, also in London and would talk for England be happy to share his thoughts too!
Just had a thought - think carefully about how you talk about why children are in care to be adopted. Even though we thought we had pitched it right, DS was really upset when he first started to think that sometimes children can't stay with their birth parents. I don't know if that's inevitable, or if we didn't quite get it right, but we did have to say explicitly that he would always be with us to reassure him