How Will My Biological Children Be Affected By Adoption?

I’ve had families ask me recently, and understandably so, how adoption will impact their biological children. I think that perhaps there is this fear of whether it will disrupt their sense of security, or short change them in some way. It’s funny though, I don’t remember wondering that when I was pregnant with child number three. I don’t remember thinking, “What if the boys feel short changed? What if I can’t give them all that they need? What if they feel put out or left out?”

So I wonder why we think that when it comes to adoption. Adding a child to a family is simply adding a child to a family. I’m not underestimating the difficulty that comes with adopting children who are hurt and wounded. It’s hard work. But this post is not about that. This post is about loving and growing.

This post is about children gaining siblings, learning to love in deeper ways and growing into incredible human beings.

The three beautiful people above have done just that. They opened their hearts, sacrificed personal space and quiet moments, and they have loved extravagantly. We have done our best to make sure to give each of our children quality one on one time, to respect them as individuals in the midst of a large family, and to encourage them to have personal time and experiences to follow their dreams and develop their talents.

We function as a family and love as a family, every one pitches in, not always joyfully, but we do it. It’s what families do. Families love and care for each other.

Several months ago, we were on the porch sitting with our three Oldest while the three Littles played in the backyard, and we were talking about how the Littles have changed all of our lives.  I was overwhelmed with love as I heard my Olders talk about how the Littles have caused them to be better people, more capable adults, more loving, more giving, less selfish, and more qualified for adulthood and someday parenthood.

After a long talk, they shouted out to the Littles, “HEY GUYS, THANKS FOR MAKING US BETTER PEOPLE.”

And as a mom, I’d like to shout from the rooftop, “HEY NICK, TAYLOR, AND ISABELLE, thanks for loving well, giving big, and making ME a better person!”


10 thoughts on “How Will My Biological Children Be Affected By Adoption?

  1. Love this – we have not adopted yet, but just by entering onto this road and beginning this journey – we have seen such beautiful changes take place in our two children as they begin to open their hearts to bringing in more children: Hearing their prayers and having them walk along side of us, encouraging us and being a major part of this process has been such a HUGE blessing . . . we are so blessed and amazed at how the Lord can change all of us, mold us to how He wants us to be and make us such a beautiful fragrance to Himself. We would completely agree that Christ has used adoption as one of the things in our life to conform us to Himself.

  2. This all sounds lovely, and please know I am on your side. But I have 2 adopted sisters (both drug and alcohol affected, severely), and I would say it had good effects on some (me included) and bad effects on others. We’ve had them for 16 years now, and every year has gotten worse. I’m fairly sure if my parents could do it over again, they wouldn’t have adopted these particular girls — they have been the cause of more heartache and grief than I ever thought possible. My little brother (biological) openly blames his problems on “not having a mom and dad anymore.” I don’t necessarily agree with him, but it’s partly true; I can’t tell you how many times I felt ignored and overlooked because my parents were so busy with therapy, principal’s visits, etc. Sometimes I feel like my biological siblings and I raised ourselves. I am a Prayer Warrior with Reece’s Rainbow and am hoping to adopt someday with my husband. But how do I ensure my children turn out like yours, and not like my family? This is an honest query, and I love your blog.

  3. Crystal, I dint intend to minimize the struggles that come with adoption AT ALL, and I don’t feel that you are indicating that I did. They are real and can be intense. I have so much empathy for the journey your family has had. I’m praying for you as you walk your own journey that you will have peace and joy and find that place of knowing what the next steps are for your family.

    I shared this as you can tell to honor my older children for their love and sacrifice, and I know you see that.

    I think it is so important for prospective adoptive families to know what their individual, unique, one of a kind family can handle and to become incredibly educated about issues regarding medical needs, attachment/bonding, etc… to really decide the best age of child(ren) to pursue, etc.

    My husband fondly calls our first adoption our “Disney Adoption” because we adopted a healthy newborn baby girl and it was honestly easy in so many ways. Our older children were 9, 11, and 14 at the time and the transition was not difficult for them.

    When we added Aiden and Emma to our family, we really did battle with what our family was able to handle and we felt a peace (and a little stretching) as we added them to our family.

    With Mattie the unforseen medical issues that followed his adoption were certainly intense and we worked hard to keep our family close and whole in the midst of it.

    I don’t know what to say to your question other than, educate yourself, use wisdom, pray, and do not enter into any adoption lightly.

  4. Our family has 5 biological children and (so far) 🙂 2 adopted. While it hasn’t been an easy road, it has been such a joy for both my husband and myself, to watch the biological children relate to the adopted ones. When we considered bringing the second adopted child into our family, we talked with the older ones and their reaction was more like, “Why not?” than “How could you?” They embrace the same calling that we do and it’s heartwarming to hear them talk about “the next child we adopt”. And in the most difficult moments, we’re all learning a lot more about grace, patience, compassion, and forgiveness, among other things. It’s a part of who we are. We are blessed.

  5. Thanks for sharing this post Tracie. Michael and I have always planned on adopting “someday,” we are just waiting for when the timing seems to be right. Sometimes I have wondered if we would be stretching ourselves to thin (causing us to not give enough love and attention to our children) when we adopt someday, especially since we have 7 biological children, This post really helped me to see things a little differently. I have had the pleasure of seeing very succesful adoption stories up close and personal, but I have also seen heartache in families due to issues from an adopted child – but that is true even in families with only biological children, isn’t it? We have had many people live with us through the years, and right now God has closed that season for a time of healing, restoration, and some restructuring in our lives. (I recently started working full time, ) Anyway, I just want you to know that I am often blessed and given new perspective by the things you write.

  6. I love this post!!!!! I have not adopted and at this point in my life I don’t intend to based on some of the realities of Crystal’s post. We have two beautiful biological children and that’s it. However I am engrossed in adoption and adoption talk/information. I am on of three biological children in a family of five with two adopted from Korea. I NEVER see anything written about the impact of adoption on biological children and I applaud this post.

    My sister adopted at three months from Korea was a textbook perfect adoption. She is 28 now and holds a doctorate in chemistry. Doesn’t get much better than that!

    My brother on the other hand was adopted at age three and was said to be “environmentally delayed” due to the environment he was in. That wasn’t the case at all. Was it a lie, a misunderstanding? Who knows? What it was was a three year old taken from a country to a new one under completely false pretenses. He was “retarded” later diagnosed as Trainably Mentally Impaired. He would need a lifetime of care and would never ever catch up from his “delay”‘s. He is 28 now and functions at age of a two year old. When we got him he ate constantly out of the garbage can, stored food in his cheeks to eat later, acted wild. My parents knew in their heart this wasn’t what they were told. My mother launched into a deep depression, and there were things that happened in my family I don’t talk about to this day even on an anonymous blog. Her struggle was deep and intense.

    Crystal you said you were a prayer warrior…..I think the biggest key for me in all my family’s turmoil was Christ. My parents had given me Christ and where they lacked HE more than made up for. Adoption or no adoption, parents are not perfect. Christ is the answer to any of their lack. I was the oldest and my mom said I had gotten the best of the years my parents were together (they eventually divorced) my brothers who had very little church had never gotten Christ in their lives and they are still struggling in their adult lives. It is the greatest gift you can give your kids….not time, not good parenting books, not good blogs with great information but a whisper in their ear, and God stands in the gaps……….Just what I believe in my heart of hearts. Hope that helps. Be encouraged. You made it!

    Again and again…thank you for not ignoring the major impact adoption has on biological children…Love this post, a lot.

  7. Adoption positively impacts your biological children. We went into adoption as a family ministry 19 years ago.
    The first 9 years after adopting a 6mo, 22mo and 3.5 yr old were bliss and chaos beautifully intertwined. We also had bio 9,7 4 yr old boys. The majority of adopted kids (from foster care system) are born to mentally ill parents who resorted to smoking, drugs and alcohol to soothe their minds. These kids often come broken to us no matter how young.
    Years 10-14 of post adoption spiraled into trauma after trauma as the then 22 mo old who now was 9-14 went from perfectly respectful to calculative and scary. Mental illness became evident as puberty set in. He raped, molested, burned our house, horse barn and So. Much. More.
    We have been living nearly bankrupt the last 6 years from paying for residential therapies, child support as he’s now in foster care in someone else’s home, counseling for the girls, replacing things from fires, etc.
    Our happy, loving, nurturing home became a home with sensors, door alarms, locks on everything, fear and stress. While our bio sons now 26, 24, and 21 are married and have their own families, I can confidently say, adoption was so hard on them. They were wounded victims. They sacrificed all for these other broken children. They realize that adoption needs doing but they also feel the pain and dysfunction of living in an adoptive home where parenting in no longer “normal”.
    I still have 4 kids at home. I’m battle-weary. If you haven’t adopted yet, study Reactive Attachment Disorder http://www.attachment.org, and realize that when these beautiful children hit puberty, things very well may hit the fan.
    My best adoption tip is to wait to adopt until your youngest child is 13 and never adopt children older than your bio children. Kids that have been abused will often abuse other children. There is a time and a season for everything.

  8. My dynamic is different and I have always struggled to find a place to be totally honest about it. I guess the anonymity of the internet affords it now, but about 40 years too late. I am the only biological child in my family and my parents began adopting when I was nine. They adopted a baby first and then a biological family of three. They are all from Korea and back in the early 70’s my parents were truly on the cusp of international adoption. I think because it was a relatively new “thing” and because we were heavily involved in church, the whole experience was framed (for me) as this huge, benevolent, selfless act (which it was-don’t get me wrong) but the only commentary I ever heard as a kid was about what a wonderful thing we’d done. Always positive affirmation – which left no room for the “negative” ones that crept into my head. No outlet for voicing concerns or objections that wouldn’t be met with criticism or disappointment. Sidebar: don’t misunderstand here. My parents ASKED me, did everything they thought they should, everything they were told they should. This was an INTERNAL battle I told NO ONE about. So! My struggle today, 40+ years later, is two-fold. First – the dynamic between the three biological children, 3, 5, and 7 at adoption, was strong then and remains strong now. It’s something I have always felt is IMPOSSIBLE for me to become or even feel apart of. I think this is exacerbated by the fact that I have no biological siblings. I know someone’s going to argue, but there’s simply a bond there that’s undeniable. So I’m a 53 year old woman still struggling with trying to feel accepted by my own siblings. I just wonder if there’s anyone else out there like me.

  9. Sorry – I posted without finishing my second thought. The second part I struggle with as an adult is the feeling that my grown adopted siblings haven’t given my parents the love and respect they’ve earned. It’s like we’ve come full circle; it’s back to the “original” three. I’m the one closest to my parents. I’m the one caring for them as they age, etc. I don’t mean to be a Debbie Downer. I’m not here to bash adoption or tell anyone not to do it. I’m not even looking for someone to validate my feelings. I’d mostly like to find someone like me. I’ve spent a long time feeling alone in that regard.

  10. Interesting! My partner was a sibling of 6 boys, 1 of his brothers was adopted at 6months when my partner was only 6 months old too. My partner is now 40 and struggles with low self esteem, a sense of belonging and struggles with his successions as he feels that he is not good enough. He was told by a psychologist that it was all pin pointed to the fact that his parents adopted a baby when he was so young not getting enough attention at such a young age due to the needs of the new adopted baby being held more etc, and not to mention 3 biological siblings before him who needed time with his parents too.
    My partner feels and questions to himself “why did they have to go and adopt when I was a baby? Was I not good enough that they needed to adopt another baby?” Even though I try to say “No, I am sure that was not what his parents were thinking at the time, I am sure that they felt that they could give a better life for the adopted child enriched with love and life as opposed to a life with no-one to love”
    I personally struggle to acknowledge his feelings and he does state that I do not understand as I was brought up as an only child and never had to worry about sharing my parents love (I do have 2 half brothers from my fathers previous marriage who are old enough to be my father) so essentially I am an only child.
    I think a lot comes down to personality and how we deal with “life” I could state that its very lonely and not have that connection with a sibling.

    I would like some advice to give my partner about the adoption in a way where he does not feel like he was the victim or can play the part of a victim ie: not loved enough etc. I have mentioned to him “how do you think that his adopted brother feels as his parents did not want him at all”? I think I can be quite black and white and I don’t mean to be, so any advice would be appreciated.

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