When it comes to adoption, we’ve heard what the child and their parents have to say. We’ve listened to their voices and heard their stories. But we’ve rarely ever heard the perspective of the adoptive parents’ biological children.
Now, I’m not saying that my adopted brother is any less my mom and dad’s child than I am. We are both their children, loved equally and cared for equally. But I want my voice heard, too. And this is the story of how I got an older brother at 8 years old.
I just turned 8 when my parents began taking me to meet Zach every weekend. He was an 11-year old with dark hair and a scar on his face. Zach was quiet during the meetings and my parents would prod me to talk to him or to show him my new toy.
During the weekend visits, Zach and I got very close. We’d play with cars, watch cartoons, and draw – we both enjoyed arts. One day, my parents sat me down and asked me how I’d like to have Zach for a brother.
While it was exciting at first, I began to resent Zach’s presence. My parents paid a lot of attention to him, making sure he was comfortable, buying him new toys and clothes, and asking him to decide what we’d have for dinner. I grew jealous of my brother because I thought my parents have gotten bored of me and loved him more. I saw myself as an old toy, discarded once a new one came along.
You see, it wasn’t that I hated Zach or that I didn’t want to share. It’s that it wasn’t properly explained to me that my parents had to pay extra attention to Zach because he had been through more than what kids our age had to face. It was selfish of me to feel that way, yes, but can you blame me?
My parents eventually talked to me and explained to me that loving Zach did not mean they loved me less. Zach had been a wonderful addition to our family and it took me long to realize that my resentment of my brother had no merits.
My suggestion to families with biological kids who are looking to adopt?
Before the adoption, explain to your child that you’d have to pay more attention to their new sibling for a while to help the new child feel more comfortable. Remind them that you love them as much as you always did. Remember that the adoption of a child has a huge impact on the children you might already have at home. Make sure that you count them in with the equation when making this decision, too.
Eventually, Zach and I became as close as brothers can be. In fact, he’s the godfather to my son and was the best man at my wedding. You see, adopting a child is never a bad thing but it’s only fair to consider the way your current children’s adaptation to the new family life would be.