Explaining Adoption to Your Other Kids

Women choose adoption for a lot of different reasons. There’s probably a stereotype in your mind about the type of women who choose adoption — young, single, lacking in resources — but this isn’t always the case. In fact, “giving a baby up” for adoption when you already have kids is relatively common.

Unplanned pregnancy is hard regardless of your age, marital status or whether or not you’re already a parent. Adoption is an option for anyone, in any circumstances, who is going through an unwanted pregnancy.

“Giving a second child up” for adoption or “giving a third child up” for adoption can have some unique challenges, like talking to you older kids about the adoption. We’ve created this guide to help.

Here, we’ll go over the most important information you need about adoption for second or third children, including how to explain putting a baby up for adoption to your older kids.

Why You’re Not “Giving Up” When You Choose Adoption

It’s common to hear the phrase “giving a baby up” for adoption. You have probably used this language personally. While there’s no harmful intention behind it, this is actually an important misunderstanding of what adoption is, and it can subconsciously create feelings of shame or guilt on behalf of prospective birth parents.

You are not “giving up” when you choose adoption. Instead, you are doing something brave by doing what is best for your child. Adoption creates the opportunity for a great future in the loving home of adoptive parents.

Instead of saying “give up” for adoption, you could say “choose adoption,” “place for adoption,” or “create an adoption plan.” While we will still use the common phrase of “give up” in order to be relatable, you will see it placed inside of quotes for this reason.

How it Works When “Giving Baby Up” for Adoption, Already Have Kids

Is the adoption process any different for women who are “giving a baby up” for adoption and already have kids? No, it’s not any different. You’ll still follow the same steps, be offered the same support, and have all of the same rights as any other woman who chooses adoption for her baby.

Each adoption process is unique. The details of your situation — like the role of the father in your life and the process, your financial needs, and more — will influence your adoption journey.

Every adoption — including “giving a second child up” for adoption — will follow these big steps:

  1. Choose adoption for your baby.
  2. Pick an adoption agency and create an adoption plan.
  3. Choose an adoptive family.
  4. Give birth and complete the adoption placement.
  5. Take part in post-placement contact through open adoption.

You can read our in-depth guide to getting started in the adoption process for more details of each of these steps. What’s most important for you to know is that “giving a third child up” for adoption is the same for the prospective birth mother as any other type of adoption.

“Giving a Second Child Up” for Adoption When You Don’t Have Kids

When you’re a prospective birth mother, you may be considering “giving a second child up” for adoption or “giving a third child up” for adoption when you don’t have any other kids. Just like your earlier adoption placement, you may find yourself experiencing an unplanned pregnancy when parenting isn’t an option.

Adoption agencies see this situation often. If you are considering “giving a second child up” for adoption, there’s nothing to be ashamed of. Unexpected pregnancy happens, and adoption is a brave and loving choice.

You may want to consider the benefits of working with the same adoption agency as your earlier placements. This familiarity can make the process easier. Also, there’s a chance that the family who adopted for other child may want to adopt their sibling, which can have benefits for both children as they grow up.

How to Explain Putting a Baby Up for Adoption to Your Older Kids

While the process is the same for any woman who chooses adoption, women who are “giving a second child up” for adoption or “giving a third child up” for adoption do face a unique challenge: explaining the adoption to their older kids.

If it gives you any comfort, you’re not the only one trying to figure out how to have this conversation. It can be challenging. But, thankfully, others have gone through this, and their experiences offer a sort of step-by-step approach to explaining putting a baby up for adoption to your older kids.

Step 1: Speak with your adoption agency. Your agency can do more than just organize the paperwork required for adoption. A good agency offers support for challenges just like this. It’s likely that your agency has helped guide other prospective birth mothers through this conversation, and they can help you, too.

Step 2: Be honest early in the process. Explaining putting a baby up for adoption to your older kids will go better if you are honest upfront. Kids can pick up on little hints when you are hiding something. It will build distrust if you hide the adoption plan until late in the process. Instead, start the conversation early. This creates trust and also allows time for everyone to process their feelings.

Step 3: Explain the benefits of adoption clearly. How much did you know about adoption before you spent time researching it? If you are like most people, then you didn’t know much. Your children will likely be learning about adoption on the fly as you explain your plan to them. Make sure to emphasize the benefits of adoption for the baby, for yourself, and for your children. A positive first perception can influence how they respond to the idea.

Step 4: Look for ways to let your children be a part of the process. If you feel it is appropriate, there are parts of the adoption process where you could let your kids be involved. For instance, you could ask them to look through the adoptive family profiles with you. They may feel better about their sibling being adopted once they see the adoptive family and understand that they are good, loving people.

Step 5: Remain open to questions. Explaining putting a baby up for adoption to your older kids is an ongoing process. They will continue to have new questions, even after the adoption is complete. Part of your responsibility to them is to remain open to their questions. Encourage their curiosity, and see questions as opportunities to instill positive ideas about adoption in their minds.

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Do you have more questions about “giving a second child up” for adoption or “giving a third child up” for adoption? Contact us today to be connected with an adoption professional.

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