When a stepparent adopts their stepchild, so many complex emotions can arise. Of course, there is happiness that the stepparent is taking legal steps to formalize their relationship with a beloved child. Still, there can be some conflicting feelings. This may be especially true on the child’s part.
The youngster may have understandable, lingering questions about the biological parent who is permanently gone from their life. That person may never have played a significant role in the child’s upbringing – and after the adoption will certainly not be doing so.
Nevertheless, the child may have a sense of loss and confusion. They may reach out to their biological parent (your spouse) as well as to you (their adoptive stepparent) for clarity and emotional support.
As an adoptive stepparent, you want to address the child’s concerns in a gentle, loving manner. There are some age-appropriate ways to manage this delicate matter while perhaps making your own relationship with the youngster stronger.
What a child may want to know about their birth parent
These are examples of the information a child may seek:
- Can you tell me about my father /mother at my age?
- Does my birth parent still care about me?
- Are there half-brothers and half-sisters I have never met?
- What made them walk away from our family?
A child may be a little bashful about voicing questions about a birth parent. They may think it’s not alright to mention them. Let the child know they can come to either you or your spouse to ask anything they wish. Kids tend to be curious by nature. Being candid, transparent and non-judgmental with them is very important.
Getting used to your new place in the family takes time
There will be a gradual process during which everyone in the family adjusts to you in your new role as an adoptive parent. Let the child absorb it at a pace that feels comfortable for them. When approached thoughtfully and with consideration for all who are involved, adoption can be one of the most rewarding experiences in life.