Adoption can be a great blessing to a family. In many cases, an adoption means that a child who may have not had many opportunities in life will suddenly be open to an entire new world, thanks to the kindness of his adoptive family. Still, when there are already children in the family, adoption can cause certain types of concerns. The good news is that adoptive children and their siblings are no more prone to sibling rivalry than other children are, at least as far as research has shown. On the other hand, the fact remains that most families will experience some degree or another of sibling rivalry, and families with adoptive children are no less likely to experience sibling rivalry.
Jealousy is one of the major causes of sibling rivalry, whether it is in a family who has had an adoption or not. It may be, for example, that a child is jealous of the attention that a newly adopted child receives, even if the adoption was not an infant adoption. In other cases, the adopted child may feel as though the biological children in a family receive preferential treatment, or that they are more loved than the adopted child. While parents cannot completely eliminate jealousy as a cause of sibling rivalry, they can reduce it by helping to prepare their family for the adoption, and by making sure that they offer equal attention to each child after the adoption.
If the adoption is an open adoption and the adopted child has a regular relationship with her biological parents, there can be other things that can cause sibling rivalry. Again, jealousy is a major concern. Also, if the parents or other siblings don’t get along with the biological parents, this can lead to a variety of tensions, including sibling rivalry.
Age is an important factor in sibling rivalry, whether there is an adoption or not. If a child is older, they are more likely to be able to understand their situation, and to work through some of these sorts of problems. On the other hand, teenagers tend to have a harder time dealing with gaining new siblings through adoption than younger children do. Gender matters too, in that siblings who are of the same gender do tend to experience more sibling rivalry than other siblings.
Ultimately, you can expect to have some sibling rivalry during an adoption. With some patience and hard work, however, it can usually be brought to a manageable level.