Adoption 101: How to Welcome Your New Child Into Your Family

As a new adoptive parent, you surely can’t wait for the day when you’re going to bring your adopted child home. As joyful as you surely feel when thinking about that day, however, you may also experience some apprehension about it. After all, the transition to a completely new environment can be stressful for any child. And for an adoptive child, it often proves to be a challenging experience to say the least – even despite the attachment and trust he or she may already have towards you. How can you make sure he or she will feel welcome, loved, and included in your family from the very beginning? In this article, you will find some practical advice regarding what you can do to help your child feel comfortable and secure in his or her new home.

Prepare Your Home

Preparing your home for the arrival of your newly adopted child will give you a confidence boost and help you feel in control of the situation. Additionally, a child will adapt better to their new situation if they perceive that the environment was prepared with their needs in mind. This will give the child a feeling of security that may help him or her combat the natural anxiety he or she is bound to experience at first. Some of the things you need to remember about before the big day are:

  • Prepare the child’s bedroom. Don’t forget about bedding and clothing appropriate to the child’s age. If you’re bringing home a toddler, take care of diapering necessities.
  • Stock your fridge with food and meals appropriate to your child’s age
  • If you’re adopting an infant or a toddler, research ways of baby-proofing your house and apply them to ensure the child’s physical safety

Establish Family Routines and Rules

Creating trust is one of the most essential parts of parenting an adopted child. You can gain or reinforce your child’s trust by establishing family routines and rules – and sticking to them. Of course, how fixed or how flexible this schedule is will largely depend on your child’s age. However, it is important that your family finds its own rhythm of doing everyday things together. This will help your child feel that he or she truly belongs.

Similarly, clearly communicating to your child some household rules will make him or her realize there are boundaries within which to act. Depending on the age of your adopted child, you may include him or her in establishing the rules used in the home – and the consequences for breaking them. In any case, organizing your child’s life around routines and rules will make them feel secure and foster their attachment to you.

Be Empathetic and Emotionally Available

If not an infant, it is likely that your child will display a plethora of challenging behaviors – especially in the first month after the transition to living with you. Empathy will help you understand, first and foremost, that your child’s difficult behavior doesn’t indicate emotional rejection of you as a parent. Even if a child says hurtful things, such as the proverbial “I hate you!”, you should strive to look deeper and see it an underlying issue that may be causing such negative emotions rather than take it personally.

Being empathetic will also help you notice and understand your child’s needs better – and promptly respond to them. Additionally, expressing your emotions to your child will help him or her develop the understanding of feelings and the ability to both correctly recognize, voice, and control their own emotions. This will facilitate and foster good communication habits that will help the child feel safe and secure in a new home and a new family.

Thinking About Adoption? Consult an Adoption Attorney

Adoption is a beautiful way to start or expand a family. However, in order to be successful in the adoption process in Texas, you need to be prepared for it not only emotionally and financially, but also legally. If you’re considering adoption, contact one of our attorneys at Fraser, Wilson & Bryan, discuss the needs of your family and to receive comprehensive legal assistance in your adoption case.