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.

adoptive father and son

Parents Share: How Is Parenting After Adoption Different?

Parents Share: How Is Parenting After Adoption Different?

We asked parents to "name one way in which adoptive parenting differs from parenting a biological child." From maintaining an open adoption to understanding trauma parenting to feeling free to agree wholeheartedly with compliments about your child's looks, here's what readers shared.

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Author Gary Matloff's two sons, adopted from Brazil as older children, home together for Thanksgiving

“…and so It Goes”

My older son is off at college, and I’ve been heartened to see that his “new normal” includes a maturing and strengthening of the bond between us. I look back to the day I met him, just over eight years ago, and our years of attachment struggles, even as I look to his future, and ours, with hope.

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Adoptive Families' 2018 Cover Photo Contest Grand-Prize Winner Sadie Jane

2018 Cover Photo Contest Winners

Congratulations to the winners of the 2018 Adoptive Families Cover Photo Contest! See the nine photos selected from 1,000 entries, and read stories from the proud parents.

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The Littlefield foster family – author Deirdre with her husband and two sons

“What Being a Foster Family Has Taught My Children”

Amazingly, the number one question we’re asked about being a foster family is: “Are you afraid of what they'll teach your children?” So, what have my kids learned? To start—to be open, generous, non-judgmental, thankful for their warm home….

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author Gary Matloff visiting his son, adopted as an older child, as a freshman at college

“…and Letting It Be” – My Son’s Transition to College

When I adopted my two sons eight years ago, they couldn’t separate themselves fast enough from their “old” life in Brazil. As I prepared to visit my oldest son two months into his “new” college life—a lifetime for any freshman—I wondered to what extent he might have compartmentalized his now “old” family life.

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Adoption Experts answer your questions.

Ask AF: Reconciling Different Personalities in Adoption

A mother finds herself exhausted trying to keep up with the boisterous, outgoing older child she’s adopting, and also worries that the girl might start feeling “different” from the rest of the family (who are all naturally more reserved and quiet). An expert offers advice.

an adoptive father looks back on his socialy awkward school days, in contrast to his sociable, outgoing son (as his school mascot)

“Life of the Party”

Adoption kismet paired my moody, socially awkward self with an upbeat, sociable son who volunteers to wear his school mascot costume, runs for student council, and is unfazed by the thought of speaking in front of his whole school. Every day I am awed (and exhausted).

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A grandmother and the granddaughter she adopted share a close moment

When Grandparents Adopt

Millions of children around the world are currently being raised in “grandfamilies.” In this excerpt from a new guidebook, learn how to make sense of your new role and explain this unique form of kinship adoption to your child.

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

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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