Whether it is a couple who cannot have children, parents whose children have grown up and moved away or simply someone who wants to add to their family, adoption is always a wonderful option for anyone who wants to bring the joy of a child into her life. While toddlers and babies are less common, there are countless school-aged children all over the world who, by no fault of their own, are living in group homes or with foster families. Still, adopting an older child can present some unique challenges. However, with the right approach, the transition will go much smoother and before long the child will feel like one of the family. All children are unique, but there are some common threads among them.
Whether he has lived in the same city as his adoptive parents or will be coming to America for the first time when the adoption is final, moving to a new home is sure to be a little scary. All parents are naturally excited to introduce their new child to friends and family, but it is usually best to take things slowly. Overloading a child with too much too soon can cause him anxiety and stress, effectively lengthening the time he will need to adjust. In time, new parents will have the chance to introduce their family’s new addition.
Preparing the Child’s Room
Although they have good intentions, parents may want to refrain from decorating their new child’s room or selecting lots of new clothing for him. Walking into a new room that is already decorated may feel similar to walking into a museum, the exhibits are great, but they belong to the museum. For a child to feel that something is actually his, it helps to let him have some input. Allowing him to choose for himself will let him know that he is part of the family. Additionally, it shows him that his feelings are important and that his opinion matters.
Developing a Bond Before Coming Home
Unfortunately, adoption can be a lengthy process and the anticipation can be grueling for the child as well as his new family. But, there are some ways to develop a connection as everyone waits for the process to be complete. By exchanging letters, emails, phone calls, pictures, and other personal communication, the child and new family can get acquainted with each other and when the day finally arrives to bring the child home, he will feel more familiar with his new surroundings.
The Child’s Story
There is a reason why this child has been removed from his birth parents. More often than not, older children have come from a background of abuse or neglect. While it is not imperative to research every detail, a prospective parent should know some basic information about the circumstances from which he was removed, social or developmental issues and interests of the child. Learning some pertinent information before he comes home will enable the new family to better prepare his new home and understand things and situations that may make him anxious or uncomfortable.
It is easy for prospective parents to wonder if they will be able to meet all of their child’s needs. After all, he has been through so much and they want everything to be perfect. But the most essential needs a child has are for love, security and stability. It really does not make much difference to him how much money is spent or how many things he is given. For any child, especially those who have missed out on the experience, the most important thing in the world is a caring family. Although it will take some time and patience, eventually the child will know he is home and that the people around him are his family. In the mean time adoptive parents should remember that a child cannot be spoiled by love.