21 November 2018

5 Parenting Tips for First-time Adoptive Parents

Bringing an adoptive child home for the first time is a big decision and marks the beginning of a new life for both the adoptive family and the child. Most people who adopt a child generally get plenty of time to process the thought, given that the adoption process can take from several months to years.
Even so, the actual experience of raising a child is far different from what first-time adoptive parents expect it to be. Studies have found that children who are adopted or placed in foster care generally have a history of neglect, abuse and even trauma, which translates to behavioral issues, developmental delays and emotional problems that the adoptive family must be prepared to handle maturely and patiently.

If you’ve taken the courageous step to adopt a child, the following advice will help you avoid some common mistakes made by first-time adoptive parents.

Make an effort to learn about your child’s past

If you’re not adopting a baby, your child has a history that you should know about so that you can understand what they have been through and support them in a way that would help them overcome any past trauma.

If possible, meet all of the child’s caregivers or foster parents they have been with before being adopted by you. If that’s not possible, speak with the caregivers and staff at the orphanage to know about the child’s likes, dislikes, habits and daily routine.

Don’t make a big deal of the homecoming

As much as your friends and loved ones would like to celebrate the moment, it can be overwhelming for an adopted child to be the center of attention in a big welcome party when you bring them home.
To avoid your child from feeling nervous, uncomfortable or agitated, avoid a gala celebration for at least a few weeks and give them time to settle into their new routine and family.

Help your baby adapt to his or her new life

Whatever the age of a child, adoption is a difficult process for them emotionally, as they must leave the comfort zone of an adoption home, orphanage or foster home and move in with a completely new family.

The transition can be particularly tough for babies and toddlers, who don’t have much of a way to express how they’re feeling. To make it easier for your baby or child to adjust, give them time, space and lot of love so that they’ll feel welcomed and valued in their new home.

Keep a young child physically close to you—it will make them feel secure and safe and also encourage bonding with you.

To know if you’re ready to offer long-term care and affection to a child, before you decide to adopt try fostering with the help of Perpetual Fostering, a trusted Bolton-based fostering agency serving communities in the North West and West Midlands.

Don’t be afraid to establish a routine and lay some ground rules

Contrary to what many new parents tend to think, routine and predictability help young children feel safe in a new environment. Consistency in your actions and laying some rules for all to follow will make your child feel that they’re as much a part of your family as the other members.

Having a schedule of eating, bathing, playing, studying and sleeping will help your child feel normal and make it easy for them to trust you and bond with you.

So don’t be afraid to be a firm yet loving parent to your child. Give them unfaltering love and attention but also help them find a rhythm in the chaos of adjusting to a new life so that they can trust you and feel at home.

Don’t be too hard on yourself

This is a common issue with first-time adoptive parents. In a bid to help the child feel accepted and welcomed, they go overboard with attention and indulgence, which can often lead to a grown child becoming more distant and taking longer to open up. 

Such behavior can also cause your biological children to resent the adoptive child. All of this, along with the usual stresses of parenting, can take a toll on you and make you feel lost and incompetent.
To avoid going down under in the first few months of adopting a child, remember to cut yourself some slack, take frequent breaks, divide the chores and give yourself a pat on the back from time to time for doing your best.

Disclosure:  This is a contributed post.


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