The process of adopting a kid can be quite lengthy and stressful, and being able to finally welcome your child is surely delightful. As a parent, it might be just as joyous for you to bring home an adopted child as it would be to bring home your own birth child. But your adopted child may need some time and space to adjust to his/her new home environment as this is a bigger change for your child than it is for you. It will definitely require you as a parent to make conscious efforts to make your child feel comfortable and a part of your family.
Raising adopted children in a way that makes them feel at home and relaxed can be a little tricky, especially if your adopted child isn’t a baby and has been in other foster homes, or if you are adopting a toddler. As a parent, you can do a few things that will make the transition period easier for you as well as your child.
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1. Designate a room especially for the new child
Having a room or space specially designated for your adopted child will make them feel more wanted and comfortable at their new home. If you are adopting a baby/toddler, make a nursery area designed for them with toys to play with. If you are adopting an older child, ask about their preferences beforehand, and decorate their room accordingly. Personalize their room keeping in mind their likes and dislikes.
This will give your child a sense of belonging and will feel really appreciated in their new home.
2. Introduce your older children to their new sibling before they arrive
If you already have your birth children, it should be a good idea to talk to them about the arrival of their new sibling to feel more connected to them. If they are old enough to understand, letting your older children know that you are bringing home an adopted child should be helpful as they can help their sibling feel more eased at home. Try to bring up common interests between your birth and adopted child so that they can get along easily. If you’re bringing home a baby, be sure to not ignore your other children.
3. Set up a routine
Routines are necessary for any family to function smoothly, without any disruptions in the household. For your adopted child, having a routine may be more than this. It offers a sense of stability and security to them. Assign your new child some chores and tasks around the house to include them as a part of the family!
4. Limit visits from friends and extended family for sometime
Although you may be delighted to bring home your adopted child, many people including your friends and extended family may not approve of adoption. You also can’t control what they say when they are around your child and the way it affects them. Also, all the stimulation of having people over may overwhelm your adopted child and create a negative headspace for them. Thus, it might be a good idea to limit visits from friends and family until your child has properly settled in.
5. Celebrate family festivals at home
As Indians, festivals are a part of our tradition and culture, and we tend to celebrate them quite extensively. To include your adopted child in these celebrations can make them feel highly accepted in the family. In some cases, it may be your adopted child’s first time celebrating a festival together with their family at home. If this is the case with your child, you should put in more effort to make it special for them.
6. Eat together as a family
As it is popularly said, “Food brings everyone together!”, eating together as a family with your adopted child can make them feel included. It may be hard to adjust school and work timings, but it is very important to share meals as a family, with your adopted child sharing a seat with his/her siblings.
7. Take trips together as a family
Sometime after bringing home your new child, take a weekend trip together as a family to strengthen your bond. You can probably visit a nearby beach, a zoo and take lots of photos together. After getting back from the trip, show these photos to your adopted children to tell him/her that they are a part of your family!
As your adopted child becomes a part of the family and feels comfortable with you as their parent, there would come a time in the future where you have to tell them that they’re adopted. This can be an extremely hard conversation to have, but it is important at the same time. Remember, they’d rather have you tell them the truth instead of finding out from a family member or a friend.
Here is how you can tell your child that they are adopted –
It is important to keep in mind when you are going to tell your child that they are adopted. Make sure your child is old and mature enough to understand this and keep the following in mind –
1. Keep your explanation simple and direct
2. Tell them that they weren’t born to you, but you still love them like they’re your own birth child
3. Let them know why you chose to adopt a child
4. Tell your child how much they mean to you, reassure them that you love them
5. Briefly explain to them the process you went through for adoption
6. Patiently listen to all their questions and try to answer them
All in all, it may seem like a lengthy and overwhelming process to adopt a child, but when you think of it, you’re providing a child with a new and better home, while filling your home with immense joy as well.