If you are excited to be bringing home a new family member, you will no doubt want to make the process as smooth as possible for everyone. There are a few things to keep in mind while you settle your new child into your home, so read on for 5 steps to take to ease the adoption process.
1. Pave the way and introduce yourself.
If you can, have a care package sent to your adoptive child a week or so before meeting them can help the child acclimate to their new parents. Include some fun educational toys and a small photograph album of you and your family. If age appropriate, try including a small stuffed animal that you have photographed in various places around your home to help the child make the connection between the toy, you and their new home.
2. Know as much as possible about your child's daily routines.
While it is not always possible, if you are able to discuss your child's daily routines with foster parents or caregivers, the information you learn will be quite valuable. Ask about sleep and eating habits, soothing techniques and favorites playthings. For example, does the child need a pacifier or a special blanket to settle down for the night? You want to make the transition as easy as possible for your child and keeping routines in place could reduce anxiety for both you and your child.
3. Make their room special, but be patient while they adjust.
Part of the excitement of bringing home a child is in the preparation of the nursery or bedroom. However, many adoptive children are used to sleeping in rooms with other children. You can ease your child into their own room gradually by either moving their bed into your bedroom or making arrangements to sleep in their room for a while.
4. Set aside time to bond with your child.
You can help make up for not carrying your child for nine months by dedicating time with your child and you and your spouse after you bring your child home. During this special bonding period, put off any celebratory parties or big gatherings. Your child is likely already overwhelmed by new people and places, so ensure a few quiet weeks of one-on-one time with your child. Be especially cautious about allowing your child to be passed from person to person at gatherings. This could result in anxiety and fussy behavior.
5. Get a lot of support.
People often ask what they can do to help at this time, so take them up on it. Having a new family member can be mentally and physically exhausting, so be sure to get help, preferably lined-up in advance. Accept offers of meals and household chores and take a nap when the child naps. Having the support of other adoptive parents can also be valuable. Adoptive parenting presents unique issues and having others who understand is vital.
By following the above tips you can ensure that this special time goes more smoothly for you and your new family member.