Adoption is increasingly becoming an option for many parents. While it is a popular choice for single parents and same-sex couples who want to raise children, many opposite-sex couples are also making an active choice for adoption of older children.
Bringing home an older adopted child for the first time requires care. The first few weeks, especially, are crucial. Your approach during this time will significantly impact the relationship your adopted child will share with his or her new family. Here are some tips to help you:
- Prepare your children in advance: If you already have children, it is important that you talk to them about the new arrival in advance. Prepare them on how they should interact with the adopted child.
- Assert your role as parent: Establish your role as the parent right from day one. While this may seem difficult, it is important that you combine love with firmness and lay down rules for your child to follow. This is especially important with older kids.
- Distribute chores and duties: Participating in household chores and duties will help your adopted child integrate with your family. It will also help prevent any resentment in your children.
- Adapt to your adopted child’s needs: Many older children who have been placed in foster care may have a history of neglect or abuse and may be averse to display of intimacy or touch. It is important that you respond sensitively to your adopted child’s needs by finding other ways to interact.
- Help your adopted child explain himself to peers: Adopted children are often at a loss to explain their relationship with their foster family to friends and peers. Telling the truth may attract unnecessary attention or even teasing or bullying. Help your adopted child know exactly how much of the truth to reveal.