Navigating Sibling Rivalry & Other Family Dynamics After Adoption


Advice and stories about navigating sibling rivalry, talking with relatives who don’t “get” adoption, and other post-adoption family dynamics.

an adoptive mother committed to saying yes and parenting her teenage son with positivity

Just Say “Yes” to Positive Parenting

Just Say “Yes” to Positive Parenting

If you’re parenting an oppositional child or teen, you probably say “no” a lot. You may say it so often that it’s become your default response, or you may be stuck in the perception that “no” is the healthier option. How can you bring positivity back into your parent-child relationship?

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an adoptive mother listens to and learns from her child

Lessons I’ve Learned from My Children

Over decades as a foster and adoptive parent and an adoption social worker, I have mothered and supported hundreds of children. Each one has taught me more than I passed along to them. Here is just some of that wisdom.

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welcoming an older child into your family and creating sense of belonging through photographs

Creating a Photographic History for an Older Child

Pictures help show our children that their lives matter, and that they are part of a family. A photographer and adoptive mom offers her advice for taking and preserving meaningful moments.

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Adoption Experts answer your questions.

Ask AF: When a Child Questions Adoption vs. Biology

“Recently, my 12-year-old has been questioning whether an adoptive mother can really love her children as she would biological children. She’ll say things like, ‘You think you love us, but you would love a child you gave birth to more. How should I talk with her about this?”

"Why did infertility still haunt me even after becoming a mother through adoption?"

“Buying the Lie About Infertility and Adoption”

Somehow, somewhere in my mind I believed that becoming a mother through adoption would erase my infertility. But one pregnancy announcement after another from family and friends soon made it clear that this was far from the truth.

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Sarah Gerstenzang shares lessons she has learned from her mixed race family.

“How I Parent My Transracial Family”

Like all mixed race families in America, we face stereotyping as a matter of course. These six lessions have helped enrich my family.

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Adoptive parents discuss talents and traits they think their child must have inherited from the birth family

Parent-to-Parent: Like Birth Mother, Like Child

We asked our readers: What talent or trait do you see in your child that must be from his or her birth family? Read the answers from adoptive parents.

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Cover of Kids, Parents, and Power Struggles

Book Review: Kids, Parents, And Power Struggles: Winning For A Lifetime

This straightforward book is perfect for helping parents avoid emotional warfare.

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Adoption Experts answer your questions.

Ask AF: Family Interactions After Kinship Adoption

“We are adopting my sister-in-law’s teenage son after fostering him for five years. What can I say to her at family gatherings, to family who still don’t get that we’ll be his legal parents—and to my son, who hears all of this?”

Mother And Son Lying In Bed Together Looking At Each Other Laughing. One example of connecting with kids.

10 Simple Ways to Have a Happier Family

Wish you could slow down and take the time to really connect with your kids? Here's how to slip small moments of love and closeness into the busiest days.

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Conversation bubbles representing reader responses to a new sibling

How Did Your First Child React to the Arrival of a Second?

How did you work through sibling issues/rivalries at the time of the adoption and in subsequent years? How about instances in which one child receives more attention than another or silly questions? (Is that your "real" sister?) Our readers respond.

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Julia Baxter with her family, including four new siblings through foster adoption, on their adoption day

“Where We All Belong”

When I was a teen, my parents decided to grow our family by adopting from foster care. How did it feel to suddenly gain four new brothers and sisters through adoption?

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in a family that's built through open adoption and step-relatives, more love is more love

“More Love Is More Love”

In many families, relationships come without exact names. While adoption highlighted this truth, it was already a given in my family—and maybe in yours, too?

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