Newborn adoptees can be anywhere from hours to weeks old when placed with the families that will raise them so the process is similar to bringing home a baby from the hospital. Moms and dads who opted for an international adoption process or are adopting older children may be faced with some challenges as all parties mesh into a family. Here are some tips for easing that transition.
- Make the child's room a safe place for them by surrounding them with familiar sights, be it photos of their hometown, a favorite stuffed animal or blanket they brought with them, or CDs filled with music they may have listened to prior to entering your life.
- Give the child time to understand who the new family is before allowing others to spend excessive amounts of time in your home. Avoid overnight guests for the first month or so until the tot is comfortable with the people he sees on a daily basis.
- Many internationally adopted tots were not properly nourished in their birth countries and can take to sneaking and hiding food out of fear. Allow them to keep some snacks in their room to help establish trust and show them how easily accessible the kitchen is at all times.
- Give the child choices in terms of the food that she eats and the clothes that she wears. Initially she may feel that she was forced into this new relationship. By giving her choices, she will feel that she has some control of her situation.
Families of adoptees will experience the same joys and frustrations of other parents throughout their lives, but they will also face some unique challenges, particularly if their children are from different backgrounds. For tips on how to handle these situations,
- Study the cultural holidays of your child's native country and incorporate them into your own life – be it Chinese New Year, Korea's Children's Day, or the country's independence day.
- Expand your culinary horizons and learn to make some popular dishes from the tot's birth country.
- Consider learning the language of the adoptee's birth country, or better yet, learn it with your child.
- Be prepared for a lifetime of insensitive questions from outsiders who want to know why your child looks different than you and even how you came by your child.
- Consider taking a trip to your child's birth country and help them trace their roots. Inevitably, your child will want to know more about where they came from and such a trip can be educational and inspiring for everyone involved.