You may have heard that the oldest child in is family is likely to work hard, achieve great things, and perhaps take on a leadership role. On the other hand, the youngest child in a family has a reputation for being rebellious. Whether or not you believe these statements, myths about birth order have been around for a long time.
Another myth that has been circulating around the adoption world for some time is that families should not adopt out of birth order. In other words, if a parent(s) has a five-year-old child in their home and wishes to adopt, the traditional recommendation would be to only adopt a child younger than five. Yet little is known about where this suggestion came from and why families should continue to take it into consideration.
Many adoption experts nowadays believe that, for the majority of families, adopting out of birth order can and does work. While many families have adopted out of birth order successfully, it may not be right for every family. If you already have children in your home and are considering disrupting the birth order, think about how your child(ren) would handle this. Would your child embrace this new sibling as a role model and additional playmate, or would they have issues transitioning to a new role in the family? Keep in mind that there may be additional challenges when disrupting birth order, but you can often prepare for and deal with these challenges.
Talk to the children in your household (as well as the child being adopted) ahead of time about family dynamics in order to minimize unrealistic expectations. Keep in mind that sibling rivalry is normal and occurs in every type of family, whether formed through birth or adoption. It takes time for families to adjust to each other and to a new norm following ANY adoption. If you would like to further explore the possibility of adopting out of birth order, we encourage you to talk to a Resource Specialist at (414) 475-1246.
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