Many people may think that the transition from foster care to domestic adoption will be straightforward, but it can actually be a difficult time for adopted children, as it is a time of passive change and sometimes upheaval. In this article, we will look at some tips to help your child transition from foster care to adoption.
Help Them Understand
You need to help the child understand what it means to be adopted. This explanation and discussion will vary depending on the age of the child and their comprehension skills. You should be open to answering their questions and allow them to discuss their fears and feelings at their own pace. This could take days, weeks, or months to process. Give them this time and be available when they are ready to talk.
Communicate with the Foster Family
Even if the child is a baby and needs few pre-placement visits, you should meet with the child's foster parents to learn more about your new child. This can be one of the big benefits of domestic adoption from foster care, as you can learn what your child likes and dislikes as well as routines, habits, and extra needs. This can make the transition go much more smoothly, as the child is met with familiarity despite the change in residence.
If the child already has a life book, then keep it updated. The foster parents may be able to help. Include details of their life being fostered to help the child possess a more complete history of their life so far and also give them something to reflect back on in times of need.
Learn about the adoption resources you can access. This is not limited to financial help but can provide access to support groups for both parents of adopted children as well as those for the adopted children too. There may be free therapy available to you too which can really help with the transition process.
Get your House Ready
A new home can really unsettle a child. They don’t know where anything is, the space is different, and there’s probably different house rules too. Most likely, they’ll feel like a stranger in a new world. Make sure your child has their own safe space, be this their room or a space within a shared bedroom.
Don’t decorate before your child arrives, as letting your child customize their space themselves can be really helpful for them to feel like their room is theirs. If your child is older, you may wish to stick up pictures or words for the location of important objects, so if you ask for help setting the table for example, they know where to find the cutlery drawer. If you’re going out, they can easily find their coat or shoes in the hall closet if it has a fun label on it.
Be Ready for Challenges
You may have a dream of your child entering your home and quickly becoming part of your family. However, this is rarely the case. Prior to foster care, you child may have experienced trauma, neglect, or abuse. This could impact how well they adjust to your home. You’ll need to make sure you’re ready to meet these situations head on with compassion and grace while you support your child through the difficult times. Most importantly, you’ll need to be patient. Your child will settle in with time. They may just take a bit longer than expected or need a little help along the way. Be the steady parent they can trust. Walk the journey together.