How to Talk About Placing Their Sibling

What do you tell your child after placing their sibling?

There are situations where a mother places one child while keeping another. As a mother, how do you explain this? How do you tell your children that they have another sibling?

We have seen women hide a pregnancy from the children they are parenting, especially when these women feel the best course is to place the new baby for adoption. Most often, this is not in the best interest of you, your children, or the soon-to-be-born baby.

Expect to feel frightened. Expect this to hurt. But it would be best if you still had this conversation.

You are not giving away your baby. You are deciding on a parenting plan which is different from the one your other children have. There is no right way nor right time to tell your child they have siblings. Avoiding the topic, however, sends the message that there is something to be ashamed of.

Of course, you must approach this in a developmentally appropriate way, not over-explaining to a two-year-old or pretending your 13-year-old can’t understand.

The longer you wait to explain, the harder the explanation is going to be. The older your children are, the more they will be shocked by the revelation. Also, the more they are going to feel they can’t trust you or wonder what else you aren’t telling them.

Some models of ways to explain:

I grew your sister in my tummy, just like I grew you, and I hope you get to be friends.

The little baby is your brother, but he lives with another mommy and daddy.

When I had another baby, I wasn’t able to be a mommy. He has a nice mommy and daddy who takes care of him. I’m so glad I have you to take care of.

If you need or want help with this discussion, we can provide you with a counselor.