Ask AF: Differences in a Blended Family

Our expert explains how to make every child feel like a special part of a blended family.

Q: My husband and I are adopting a baby boy from Guatemala. We have three biological children, so we’re worried that he’ll feel very different in our blended family. How should we respond to questions from others, and what should we tell our kids?

A: Answer questions matter-of-factly. You can simply say that, because he was born in Guatemala, he looks like people from Guatemala, and that your family has adopted him.

It is important that you give your children at least some general information about why their brother was available for adoption, and why he will be joining your family. Save the details to share directly with him when he is older. For now, it is enough to tell your children that his Guatemalan parents weren’t ready to be parents, but they wanted a family to love him forever. Ronny Diamond

A: It’s terrific that you’re thinking about such issues, even before you bring your new baby home. Your Guatemalan child will look different from others in your family, and he will receive a good deal of attention based on this fact alone. Instead of trying to protect him from feeling “different,” help him feel good about being different by taking pride in his Guatemalan heritage. If he is comfortable with his identity, it will pay off later on, especially as he reaches adolescence. Vicki Peterson,

 


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