If you have a stepchild, you have likely known them since they were very young. Although they are not biologically related to you, you probably view them in the same way as any biological children you have. If your stepchild only has a relationship with one biological parent, your partner, you may worry that they feel different from their half-siblings or that they feel insecure about you not being their “official” parent.
This is why adoption can have a huge psychological benefit for a child. It can mean that they can share a surname with the rest of their family, and they can gain a sense of belonging that is not possible in any other way. The adoption process can be a symbolic way to demonstrate your love and commitment to your stepchild. It can also be practical because it will prevent custody battles in the future. The following are some tips for speaking to your stepchild about adoption.
Talk to your child in the presence of their other parent
You should speak to your stepchild alongside your partner. This will help to show the child that you have a united front and that it is not a secretive conversation. They will also likely feel more comfortable to ask questions when they have their other parent present.
Highlight that this decision is the child’s choice
If the child is of an age and maturity level where they can make their own decisions and have their own opinions heard, adoption should not be forced upon them. Make sure that you speak to the child and ask them if this is what they truly want. Going against their wishes in the belief that it is in the child’s best interests could cause unhappiness and resentment in the future.
Explain why you want to adopt them
Explaining what adoption is and what it means can be a great way to open the discussion. By showing that adoption means that you will be there to support and love them throughout their life can help them to feel emotionally secure.
Starting the adoption discussion can be daunting. However, by being open and truly listening to the child, you will have a fruitful discussion.