You’ve adopted a child. Awesome! Now you have entered the new world of parenting.
It may be unlike any other world you’ve been a part of before. Being a parent is rewarding, challenging, uncertain, and incredibly special — all at the same time.
Here are some things to consider doing once you get your child home with you.
#1: Take time to connect.
Like any new relationship, connecting with your adopted child requires time, emotional availability, and consistency. Make time for connecting with your child in a way that’s meaningful for them. Maybe that’s snuggling or co-sleeping. For toddlers or younger children, maybe it’s reading stories together, playing games, or running errands together.
As you get to know each other, keep them close to you so they feel comfortable and safe.
#2: Write your child’s adoption story down.
Your child’s unique story can be an incredibly special gift to share with them. Write down some important details about the process of how he or she came to be adopted into your family. Include some of the feelings you had throughout the journey. You don’t need to romanticize it but focus on excitement, joy, and love.
As your child gets older, you can read through their adoption story together. This could give them the opportunity to ask questions — either about the process, their birth family history, or their identity in general. It can help them learn about their birth parents, immediate birth family members, and extended family and friends.
#3: Focus on the details — but not too much.
Raising a child is full of details.
What size clothes do they wear? Which pediatrician should you take them to? What’s their favorite toy? Which school is best for them?
It is easy to become overwhelmed with all the details of raising a child. Take each detail as it comes to you, rather than becoming a ball of anxiety about everything at once.
Live in the moment with your child. Take in the wonder of who they are, rather than getting wrapped up too much in the day-to-day details.
#4: Worry is normal for parents.
Being a parent means your capacity to love has increased in a way you could have never imagined it. That comes with worry at times.
You’ll always be concerned about your child getting injured or sick. When they leave home for their first day of preschool or kindergarten, you might worry if they will find their way in the building or that they will make friends. When they go to summer camp for the first time, or you drop them off at a birthday party by themselves for the first time, you’ll always have that feeling of wanting to keep them safe in the back of your mind.
#5: Plan for your child’s future.
Consider setting aside money every month for your child’s college fund. There are a few different college savings plans out there that provide great options for college tuition and other educational expenses. A trusted financial professional can help you determine which one is right for your family.
#6: Create or update your will.
This is one of the top priorities for new parents. Having a clear will provides legal and financial protection for your family in case of an unexpected death of one or both adoptive parents.
Find an attorney you trust to handle your estate planning so you can have peace of mind that your child is covered in the event of an emergency.
#7: Take time for your own self-care.
Being a parent is amazing, but it can also be stressful and draining sometimes. So don’t forget to take care of yourself. Take breaks, get enough sleep, set aside time for dates with your spouse, and don’t neglect your adult friendships.
Remember that self-care can include your child too. One of the best things for an overwhelmed parent can be a walk. Load that little one up in the stroller and get moving! You can get some much-needed fresh air, and babies especially love the motion of the moving stroller.
Being a parent is a challenging and rewarding endeavor. And becoming an adoptive parent is a decision that will change your life and that of your child. Hopefully, these tips will help you and your family navigate some of the more difficult moments that may arise after you’ve adopted a child.
Founder of Lifetime Adoption, adoptive mom, adoption expert, and Certified Open Adoption Practitioner (C.O.A.P).
Since 1986, adoption expert Mardie Caldwell has been dedicated to bringing couples and birth parents together in order to fulfill their dreams.
“Many years ago, I was also searching for a child to adopt. We didn’t know where or how to get started. Through research, determination, and a prayer, our dream of a family became reality. I started with a plan, a notebook, assistance from a caring adoption consultant and a lot of hard work; this was my family I was building. We had a few heartaches along the way, but the pain of not having children was worse!
Within weeks we had three different birth mothers choose us. We were overwhelmed and delighted. Many unsettling events would take place before our adoption would be finalized, many months later. Little did I know that God was training and aligning me for the adoption work I now do today. It is my goal to share with our families the methods and plans which succeed and do not succeed. I believe adoption should be affordable and can be a wonderful “pregnancy” for the adoptive couple.
I have also been on both sides of infertility with the loss of seven pregnancies and then conceiving by new technology, giving birth to a healthy daughter. I have experienced first-hand the emotional pain of infertility and believe my experience allows me to serve your needs better.
It is my hope that for you, the prospective parents, your desire for a child will be fulfilled soon.”