With the long and arduous adoption process, it’s understandable that most people—and most advice blogs—tend to focus on getting through the process itself. However, adoptive parents interested in the big picture may want more information on what to do after you get your new child home. Keep reading for a handy list of best practices for a smooth transition post-adoption.
The first and most important thing you can do for your child post-adoption is what’s referred to as “promoting attachment.” Though this sounds like rather a sterile term, it’s simply the act of bonding with your child in a way that helps them feel attached to you and their new life. You can do this in a variety of ways, but starting by asserting your parental role is the most helpful. Whether your child has come from a foster home or an environment of abuse and neglect, make it clear that that tumultuous time is over and you are committed to providing for their health, happiness, and welfare.
You can also promote attachment by doing things like:
Spending as much time with your child as possible
Reminding your child how much you love them
Regularly reminding your child how happy you are that they’ve become a part of your family
Being consistent in the way you demonstrate your love, care, and responsibility for them
Allowing your child to experience and articulate their emotions about the transition without fear of being judged
Communicating freely with your child. Ask them what they need and show your willingness to listen
Remember that it’s not all about you. This might seem like a funny one since the adoption process is about you and your desire to love a child! But during this time, it will be helpful to remember that the transition process is probably more traumatic for your child. Acknowledging this trauma and shifting the focus toward your child will help you to best support and validate their feelings.
Establish a Support Group
Though this may not work for all new families, some families find it genuinely helpful to make connections with support resources like a therapist, school counselor, or other adoptive families experiencing a similar transition. LGBT adoption families may want to seek out other members of the LGBT community to speak with. Often, this brings more than simple short-term benefits like helping you and your child to make friends. The establishment of a lasting, consistent support network is often beneficial for acknowledging the stress and strain your child is experiencing and it can help to resolve issues that might arise at a later date.
By dealing with these difficulties up front and finding a safe space for you and your child to explore your feelings together, you can provide a smooth transition for you and your child post- adoption.