Preparing our eldest

Today’s problem comes from Lynne, who wants advice from second time adopters.

We’re in the very early stages of thinking about adopting a sibling for our son.

He came home in 2009, age just 11 months, and although it’s not been an easy ride, things have settled somewhat in the last few years and we’re doing well as a family. He’s mentioned in passing a few times about life with a brother, and we’ve started to think that now might be the time to apply to adopt again. We always thought we’d want to adopt again, but making sure son number 1 was settled and ready was the most important thing.

I want to know from others who’ve adopted a second time how much preparation I should do with him? How soon? What resources have you used to help you? And what does the process involve for him? Will he be assessed by a social worker like we will?

Looking forward to your answers, and thanking you in advance.

6 thoughts on “Preparing our eldest

  1. Karen

    We are just going through the process for a second time, our social worker has met with our son and in a lovely way explored his feelings and opinions on having an addition to the family. We have the same social worker as we did first time around so there is already a relationship between him and our son, they just went off and had a little play and chat. We were given the choice of being present or not, we chose to be in the next room. It was all very child focussed an our son loved it as he enjoys our social workers company and enjoyed the attention,he’s 5 and has been with us since November 2013.

    In terms of preparing him we are yet to test out our efforts, so my advice is very limited, an experienced second time adopter will hopefully have more to add, which I would find useful too. At the moment we have just spoken a lot about “a new brother or sister” in a hypothetical way, what room will they sleep in, where will we put their toys, how will we give mummy and daddy time for both, etc. We also wrote him a book to get the thought process going, based on a cuddly toy he has.

    1. Sarah

      Hi I would like to follow this thread and find out how you are all doing as things progress. We have just expressed interest in starting the process for the 2nd time. Our son is 5.5 and has been with us for 2 years. Really interested in any helpful conversation tips. The wait really concerns us actually, so knowing how to introduce it all without the sense of immediacy will be key. Also has anyone heard of any preparation courses for 2nd time adopters?

      1. Adoptive Mum

        I was going to reply to this but then found I have already replied under “Adoptive Mum” on 22 June so now we are coming up to 3 weeks since I wrote it and our adopted son has not improved at all with the emotional fall out, in fact he has been so bad for the past 2 or 3 weeks since us being approved at panel that he has now triggered a referral to CAMHS. Unless you are in the catagory of being able to take a sibling group, a baby under 1 with serious health issues or a dual heritage child (and even then it would help if you were on the “younger” age range ie mid 30s-mid 40s) then I would strongly recommend that once your child has been assessed by the SW that you leave it at that with them….let it all go “on the back burner” so that it starts to fade from their minds and if they ever ask in the future just tell them the SW is still looking for a sibling for them and it will take a little longer yet.

      2. Adoptive Mum

        We did not need to go on a preparation course as the content was pretty much the same as the first time around and it had only been 3 years or so since we did the first one.

  2. Blogfox14

    I hope you don’t mind me commenting as I’m not a second time adopter! However we have the experience of preparing our birth child for getting an adopted sibling so can share that experience. Our eldest was 5 too and turned 6 just as we got the little one. We chose to keep eldest involved right from the start which worked for him. He always knew what we were doing and what the next stage was. We had a BAAF book called Getting Brother or Sister which was useful, easy to read and has little activities in it. We also got Nutmeg gets adopted to help him understand why adoption happens and why his new sibling might be anxious etc. I find that one quite wordy but your eldest might identify more with it being adopted himself.
    We involved eldest in getting the new bedroom ready and making the video/ photo book etc when the time came. We also took him to Build a Bear workshop to choose and build a bear for his new brother and he took a lot of pride in doing it. We made sure that he got something too and that everything felt fair.
    We have always made it clear to him that there will be difficult points but he can tell us anything. At the few points where he has commented negatively about his bro we have accepted his comments and tried to empathise. The grandparents have helped too by taking him out and giving him his own space if needed.
    I wrote about the early days in my blog post Getting Brother or Sister
    There have been bumps in the road but the boys have a really lovely relationship now.
    I hope that helps a bit, I’m more than happy to answer any questions xx

  3. Adoptive Mum

    We have just been approved as 2nd time adopters – our first child was by adoption and he moved in November 2013 aged 4.5. The 2nd assessment process was much quicker than the first and our son only had 3 little sessions with our SW (I was present at the sessions) to see how he was feeling about having a brother/sister. Based on what we have now found is seemingly really true ie there are very few children in the current system for adoption and those which are in are predominantly sibling groups, dual heritage or babies with major health issues I wish we had not told our son of our approval at panel but just left it with the idea our SW was looking out for us for a sibling. Upon hearing we were approved he expected his brother/ sister to be arriving in the next few months and we’ve had to deal with the emotional fall out when we’ve had to tell him it will most likely be a VERY long time eg “you might be 8 or 9 or even 10….


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