Families are formulated in a variety of ways, and this includes adoption. While this experience is a beautiful way to form a family, just like how there are many things that you need to know about pregnancy, there is a lot of planning, research and care that goes into adopting a child. If you are looking to prepare your home and heart for an adopted child, here are a few things that you will need to do.
Find The Right Agency
Many people don’t know much about the process of adoption until they have direct experience or connection. Having a reliable, trustworthy and caring agency that can help walk you through adoption services will be key. Someone to help answer your questions, assuage your anxieties and help you navigate each step will make all the difference. You will be working together for a lengthy period, so you need to make sure that you find the right fit.
Know The Process
Because this process can be lengthy and complex, there will be an abundance of information that you will need to provide and steps, including everything from documentation to home visits to character references. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. You also need to know that each individual agency and entity will have a different process. By knowing your responsibility and action steps through each phase of the adoption process, you can ease some of your anxiety and know what is expected of you.
Explore Your Resources
Many adults are unaware of the wide variety of resources available to them that range from financial support to emotional support to pre-adoption counseling. Each of these key resources can prove useful to alleviate stress or tension that you may find throughout the process. Having these additional supports and resources throughout the process can help you have a positive experience.
Connect With Your Employer
If you have not already, consider reaching out to your employer to see if there are any resources or support for new parents. Often in parental policies, adoptions also qualify for support and assistance. Whether they can offer financial support, time away from work or connections to additional support services and resources, this can be one additional resource available to you.
Preparing Your Physical Space
As you are creating a home for your kids, you need to also develop a physical space that welcomes them. It is your job to set up a room and area of the home that allows them to settle in and have a place they can call their own. Especially when you are adopting an older child, they will need their own space if you can. Keep in mind that regardless of your child’s age, this is an entirely new circumstance for them and for you, and you need to give them room to process and space to decompress.
Introducing Adopted Children Into The Family
Adopting a child is a wondrous and amazing experience, but you also need to navigate this with care. While this child is a new addition to your family, you need to take time to introduce them and make them feel like they are a part of the family and that means consistent behavior and treatment. Shower them with love just as you would with everyone else, but try not to make this overwhelming or suffocating of an experience.
Have a Clear Communication Plan With Family and Friends
Once you have time to settle in, the rest of your community, friends and family will likely want to welcome your newest family member. As you navigate this wonderful welcome, make sure that you have a clear communication plan for everyone. Language like real parents, can be harmful to a child and make them feel isolated. Make sure that you discuss the fact that your adopted child is as much a part of the family as everyone else.
Develop a Plan With Birth Parents
Some families are choosing open adoptions, where their children have a relationship with their biological parents. This can be complicated if unmanaged, so take time to work with the birth parents, adoption agency and when age-appropriate, your children to develop a plan. It is important that you all have boundaries so that this can be a beautiful, safe relationship and one handled with care.
Enroll Your Family in Therapy
Therapy and counseling can be an essential tool. The reality is that adoptions can be complicated and have long-term effects, so having someone available to talk through this with the whole family can help everyone. People don’t need to address their mental health solely in times of crisis and you can use this as a preventative and proactive tool, just as you would with other doctors.
The underlying message is that adoption processes can be complicated, long and arduous processes and there is a lot to do to create a truly positive experience, home and transition for everyone. If you want to create a home environment that will allow these new relationships to blossom, you should follow these steps and you can be on your way to a beautiful family.