If you decide to expand your family by adopting a child, it is essential to prepare your existing children for their new sibling. The adoption process may be long and complicated, but you may be able to use some of that time to help your children get ready to welcome the new member of your family. Your children may have strong feelings or anxieties about the addition of a new sibling, especially if the adopted child has special needs or is recovering from trauma.

There are several things you may do to help your children prepare to accept and love their adopted brother or sister. Involving your biological children in the adoption process as much as possible may help them feel like they are able to voice their opinions and emotions. If your children are younger, you may give them concrete examples of how the adoption will affect their daily lives. For example, they may have to share a bedroom with their new sibling or take turns choosing a book to read at bedtime.

According to U.S. News and World Report, there are some unique challenges involved in raising biological and adopted children together. An adopted child may feel like an outsider as he or she grows older, especially if there are significant differences in physical traits between him or her and the rest of the family. Adopted children may view common issues such as sibling rivalry or parental discipline differently and may need more assurances of love than your biological children do.

Biological children may also find adoption challenging, especially if your adopted child requires a significant amount of your time and resources as a parent. Consistently reminding all your children of your unconditional love may help reduce feelings of jealousy or uncertainty.