FAQ with an adoptive mother

Today's post from an FAQ series where Buckner foster and adoptive families answer questions they receive frequently. Today, adoptive mother Holly James answers:

How did you make sure biological son's needs were met during the foster and adoption process?

I am so excited to answer this because this was the biggest concern our friends and family had when we decided to adopt!

Right now, we have 2 children in our home—Clyde, 5, our biological son and Nathaniel, 2, who joined our family through adoption. Clyde was 2 1/2 at the time we decided to adopt. So many people were concerned with how he would adapt to potentially having a child of the same age enter our home, not to mention the confusion of the whole foster-to-adopt situation.

There were two main things that we did to really make sure that Clyde's needs were met during this time.

First, we told him very early on in the process, even though he was young. We explained to him what adoption is, how much love we had in our hearts and how we had so many blessings to share. We wanted to share this love and blessing with a child who didn't have a home like us and could use our love.

I know this sounds like a lot for a 2-to 3-year-old, but we explained to him that Buckner was our partner. They were going to help us find his brother. During the process our case manager was at our house a lot, and we loved him. Clyde spoke of him often, and we still see him as a part of our family.

This built up an anticipation, and Clyde was genuinely excited for a brother. In my opinion, it helped Clyde and Nate create such an amazing bond. The two of them bonded before anyone else. Nate arrived when he was 8 months old, and the first few weeks, he would have to have his bottle in bed with Clyde before he would go to sleep. Otherwise, he would just cry and cry. Every night. Clyde immediately became this protective big brother, telling everyone proudly that Nate was his adopted brother like a badge of honor.

Second, we had a lot of quality one-on-one time before and after placement. We took advantage of this time as a family of three and went on a trip to Disney World. It was great to just focus all of our attention on Clyde and create some really great memories.

Once Nate actually got to our house, we were all so excited, especially Clyde. But having a new family member means having to share time and attention. Going from an only child to having siblings—whether biological or through adoption—is a big change! We made sure that we had a lot of extra one-on-one time: after Nate went to bed, special mommy-son and daddy-son outings, even some special alone time at Mim and Papi's (grandma and grandpa).

I think both of these things were crucial to making him still feel valued and loved while being able to add room to love someone else.

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