Parents Advice for Adoption

Adoption of a child is a hugely significant moment in the lives of both the child and the adopting family. Coming from a completely different background, the child may need time to settle into your family. Therefore, it is important for new parents to give them sufficient opportunities to form a healthy bond with their new family.

Adopted children in some cases crave love but lack the skills to create strong bonds with others. They are confused and afraid. They do not trust easily. Often, these children have gone through difficult, and at times traumatic circumstances. As a result, they may have developed behavioral and emotional issues. It is to be expected that there will be a level of mistrust, which can only be overcome with time, effort and creating the space needed for communication.

Children who have come from a difficult background have some common attachment-related behaviors such as control issues, aggressive behavior, pushing and ignoring others, disobedience, etc. So, adopting parents must be prepared to provide them with all the love and care despite of their attachment challenges. Here are a few pieces of adoption advice that parents might follow in order to create and strengthen their bonds with their new children.

Keep them close to you

Even a child that is born to you can takesas much as nine months to recognize your sound and scent. So, if you have adopted a baby, toddler, or even a young child, give them enough time to bond with you and feel safe and comfortable around you. Keeping them close during their first few months will really help. Take them with you wherever you go and discourage your loved ones from playing “pass the baby” because at this time they are already going through a lot of changes. Keeping them close will make it clear to the child that you are the parent and their protector now.

Find out how their life was like

If your child had a life before you adopted them, that is if they are not a newborn, find out how it was before they met you. Talk to their birth parents or the orphanage from where you adopted them and learn more about them. This will help you in making them comfortable at their new home as you will know what their routine was.

Revisit developmental stages

Grab opportunities to heal their wounds. Take them to developmental stages that they may have missed out earlier in their childhood. No matter if they are older, they may want to be rocked or sang-to, etc. Do not worry, they will only learn more and improve as they engage in such behavior, and this will only make you a more responsive caregiver.

Anticipate their needs

Do not wait for them to ask you for anything they want or need. Anticipate their needs as much as you can. Buy them healthy food. Buy them toys that they like. Care for them in unexpected ways, for example make sure you pick them up from school the day it rains rather than them having to walk back or take lift from their friend. Let them know that you are there for them and know what they want even if they do not tell you.

Weekly activity

Take them out with you every week, some night for pizza, some night for a movie. Just plan any weekly activity together that never gets cancelled due to anything. Even if you are angry at them because they misbehaved, do not show them through your behavior during this special weekly time. It is only going to make them realize the love you have for them.

Advice for Adoptive Parents

Teach them what is right

Always remember that your adopted child will not have the same values as you so you will have to teach them what is right and what is wrong. They may be careless and even selfish most of the times but you must not get frustrated by their attitude. Do not yell at them. Make them feel heard and understood and then, calmly, tell them what they should not do.

Use humor

Humor adds color to life. So be humorous and silly with them at times. Laugh with them as you share jokes with them. This way you can have some of the best times with them.

Avoid telling others about your child’s back-story

What led your child to getting adopted is part of their story that does not need to be known by others. So, avoid telling their story to anyone because it is not their business to know about it. If you think that by sharing you can encourage other people to do similar noble deeds then it is not correct because when your child gets older, people may judge them on a past that they never chose themselves.

Keep the nursery simple

Do not overdo the decoration of your child’s new room. They may have a different choice of colors, if they are not a newborn, and may not necessarily like their room and wardrobe filled with bright colors. So, keep it simple.
If you have adopted your baby from an orphanage, they may not be used to sleeping in the room alone because at orphanages children sleep in rooms with multiple children. So, spend a little time with them in their new room as you give them time to settle in.

Expect an evolving relationship if the birth parents are in touch

If you have adopted your child from someone you know then you must be prepared for phone calls and pre-arranged frequent visits. It is definitely not something that you must get frustrated or angry about. Remember, that they are adjusting too.

Parents who have adopted children must make sure that they do all that is required to keep the connection. Children are innocent beings so parents must work on the issues rather than giving up on them. They must explain everything to them, support and ensure that they are always going to be there for them. An adopted child requires more attention and reassurance to establish as strong a bond as possible with their adoptive parents.

© Teresa Boardman, Nanny Options.

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