Adopting a child is not a fairytale or a miracle. It entails a conscious decision that demands proper planning to prevent apprehensions from overwhelming you. An adopted child is a special one, and you need to exhibit sensitive parenting that differs in style and profundity from traditional parenting techniques. Biological parents are at an advantage with the parent-child relationship following an evolutionary approach over time. But in the case of adoptive parenting, you need to do everything possible to create and strengthen this bonding.
Adoption presents certain challenges for parents. With careful preparation and awareness of special parenting needs, you can keep the struggle to the minimum. Here are a few tips to help parents bond successfully with an adopted child and settle swiftly without much difficulty.
Do Your Homework Beforehand
Adopting a child can take a while. Utilize the time gap between your decision and taking the adopted child home to research about the child. Ponder over and plan how to fulfill her physical and emotional needs. Ready your home and yourself for the new life. Read about child care and nutrition if the child is a newborn. Meet foster parents in your locality or seek useful tips from orphanage caregivers. If the child has a life before arriving at your home, explore her liking and disliking, habits, and the preferred way of life.
Awareness of how is the present life of the child helps you plan for her arrival and care. It also facilitates making a perfect plan to cater to her emotional needs and develop a stronger bonding.
Understand Unique Emotional State of An Adopted Child
You must recognize the fact that an adopted child has a different emotional state than well-cared-for children. Lack of love, relationships, care, and comfort means her physical and emotional needs remain wanting. As a result, she had unexpected struggles and separation early in life. This defines her sense of self and state of understanding. Parents must focus on helping her gradually move away from this difficult start to life.
Address her sense of anguish, loss, or trauma. Devise a way of parenting that assures her safety, care, restoration of relationships, and freedom from fear, negligence, and loneliness.
Set Up A Support System
Create a pleasant and supportive ambiance both for you and your adopted child. You need the support of your partner, friends, and family members to learn and follow the best adoptive parenting practices. Your adopted child requires much more support than you to adjust to the new environment without the past negligence hunting her.
You need to adjust your schedule to care for her while the child must be motivated to accept the transformation in life. Find out people empathetic to adoption and count them as your support. Facilitate them to create a familiar ambiance around the child assuring her the best care and counsel. A child with a good support system finds it easy to adjust to and imbibe your values.
Help Your Adopted Child Adjust
Don’t expect the adopted child to find its way to your family. You have to guide her through to come out of what she withered and adjust to the new life. No doubt parents adopting a child are overjoyed to welcome the newest member of your family. But adopted children have many inhibitions, and it is natural considering the difficulties they have earlier in life.
So, let the child feel safe, cared, and at ease with her new parents and the new home. Give her time and reassurance to adjust. Be patient even if you have to struggle during the first days, weeks, or months.
Help the adopted child overcome separation and find relationships fruitful. Moreover, motivate her to rise above shyness and imbibe the joy of life. Facilitate her gradual exposure to the world with a strong belief in relationships firmly inculcated. Avoid big celebrations on her arrival and stay as close as possible. Don’t let her feel like an object to showcase, but an inseparable part of your life.
Don’t Be in A Hurry, Allow Love Time To Be Fruitful
Never expect the adopted child to start reciprocating to your love immediately. Give her time to understand you, believe in you, and bond with you. Such children lack empathy in their lives prior to adoption and may not be sure about how to respond to adoptive parenting. Work to bring her closer, nurture her to have a sense of belongingness, and facilitate the gradual development of the parent-child relationship.
Meet her needs, pay attention to her emotional wants, and imbibe her with rhythms of family life. Closely watch her sounds, scents, cries, and tantrums and pull all strings to make her feel safe and comfortable. Never rethink about your decision to adopt the child, but work through to develop a solid relationship and strengthen the attachment. Biological parents have nine months of pregnancy to cement their bonding with the child. Give adoptive parenting at least that much time to become fruitful.
Be Emotionally Available and Responsive
Adopted children are often found unprivileged on the emotional front. Separation from parents, inability to form relationships, negligence, and lack of responsive care are deeply entrenched in their psychology. Emotional trauma arising out of difficulties and losses early in life does not allow them to bond easily with adopting parents.
Carefully examine their emotions and try to decipher confusions in their mind. Address their concerns with your words and actions. Let them feel safe, secure, and strongly connected to you and replace pain with pleasure. Be responsive when they need you or your soothing words. Talk to them, play with them, and develop a sense of belonging to each other.
You must build up the skill to comprehend the psychology of your adopted child and facilitate her understanding of you. Don’t let assumptions or unfounded beliefs dictate your emotional bonding. Experience and share each other’s emotions and encourage respect for shared feelings.
Stay Child-Centered, Attentive to Her Needs
Now you are a parent, and the child has every right to see herself at the center of your universe. Make every possible effort to assuage this feeling when you need to convince an adopted child of your sincerity. Try to be as close as biological parents and never let adoptive parenting be lacking in this respect. Pay close attention to child’s physical and emotional needs. Ensure your actions convey a sense of care and words must be soothing enough to pull the child toward you.
Staying child-centered allows you to remain closest to your adopted child while discharging your parental responsibilities fully reflecting her unique needs. However, it must not be intrusive, and the child must not perceive it as forceful. Interfering in the process of gradual adjustment is highly undesirable.
Allow the child time to develop a liking for you and your family. Let her feel your worth and build an aptitude of love and affection. Win her over instead of trying to own her.
Understand Adopted Child’s Behavior
A child is a child whether born to you or adopted. She has her own behavioral traits. Biological parents have an edge in closely watching the evolution of child’s behavior and adjusting to that. However, adopting parents have to learn and understand it. So, be prepared to struggle and tolerate during the first few weeks or months. The child is not easily amenable to your values and has her own way to organize and express fear, anger, frustration, and other feelings. Even clashes are not ruled out, as she is yet to discover and respect relationships.
Forget and forgive the childish behavior and continue to create a strong emotional rapport with the adopted child. Follow the child’s leads and assuage her emotions. As the child be able to express herself, she is less likely to exhibit tantrums, whininess and clinging. So, help her figure out the best way to express emotions within a gentle limit. Help her to raise the comfort level, understand the new surrounding, and intermingle with the new family and friends.
Put in Place Rituals and Routines
Children are more amenable to rituals and routines than free-for-all efforts. Like others, an adopted child loves predictable actions, fixed timing, and a routine life. This cuts down apprehensions and expectations on the part of the child. A more predictable routine and expected rituals help her feel secured, develop better organization skills, and express emotions in an unsurprising way. This also facilitates her exhibit behavior and response in more organized and receptive way, as she knows how to perform at a particular time. And you can easily know the expected emotions of the child and predict and control her actions.
Turn your adoptive parenting into a joyous celebration of parenthood with greater awareness and understanding of the special needs of your adopted child.
Ravneet also blogs at www.wellnessguide.com