Ask AF: Explaining a Birth Sibling's Adoption

Our expert talks about explaining the adoption of birth siblings to your child, to assure her she cannot be taken from you.

Q: We adopted our seven-year-old as a newborn. How can we explain to him that his birth mother, whom we see frequently, has another child who was removed from her care before our son was born? We don’t want him to worry that he’ll be taken from us.


A: Because your son sees his birth mother, you have probably already explained why she’s not the one raising him. You can say, “You know that your birth mother wasn’t ready to be a parent when you were born. She didn’t have enough money to feed you, or anyone to help her take care of a baby. Her troubles had started even before that, and she had another baby who was adopted by a forever family, like we adopted you.” Don’t be afraid to mention drug use or other serious problems when discussing why the birth sibling was removed from her care. It’s important for children this age to have concrete information, so tell your son what you know in simple terms. If you gloss over too many details, he won’t be able to understand that there was a problem. Finish the conversation by reassuring your son that you will be his parents forever, no matter what happens in his birth mother’s life. She will always be his birth mother; you will always be his parents.


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