You have been matched. You have prepared your child's room. You have planned for all of the expenses for your adoption. And now the day has finally come to bring your child home. But while many books exist for preparing to adopt, very few offer any insight into what happens once your dreams become a reality. So here are just a few tips on what to do when you get home with your new bundle of joy.
1. Prepare for court. Even though you have finally brought your child home, you still need to finalize your adoption. In some cases, you may be able to set a court date immediately. In other cases, you may be waiting for a few months. Stay in touch with your attorney, but don't worry if it takes a little longer than you anticipated. Focus on bonding together as a family, instead of waiting anxiously by the phone.
2. Give yourself some grace. There is no such thing as the perfect parent, so now is the time to extend yourself a little grace. Realize that you are going to have an adjustment period. Your family is changing, and you all need a little time to adjust to one another. This is easier for many parents to understand if they bring home a newborn, but the same idea applies no matter the age of your child. Take some time to adjust to your new family dynamic, and anticipate that you will have ups and downs while you figure out a routine that works for you.
3. Ask for help. Many adoptive parents find themselves in over their head, but they don't feel like they can ask anyone for help. However, you don't need to do this on your own. As your family adjusts to this new member, you need to accept the help of family and friends. Allow others to bring you meals, watch your other children, or clean your house. Many people want to be available for an adoptive family, but they don't know what the best way to get involved is. Don't be afraid to reach out.
4. Connect with other adoptive families. Each adoption is unique and special, but there are still many ways that experienced adoptive families can help you. Having a community of people who understand a lot of your fears and concerns can be a great way to ease some of your burden. Adoptive families have a different perspective than other people will. And you may be able to gain some resources specific to your child's special needs.
5. Anticipate the unexpected. There is no real way to prepare for every issue that may come through your adoption. As your child grows, you may discover different struggles that need to be addressed, while other concerns may prove to be unwarranted. Most likely, you will not have a complete medical history for your child, so there is the possibility that certain conditions could develop as your child grows. But just as biological children are unpredictable, so are adopted children. Realize that you will just have to grow and adjust with your child.
Truthfully, there is no real way to prepare for the changes that you will go through as you adjust to adding to your family. Parenting is always a roller coaster ride-for biological families, as well as for adoptive families. The key is to learn and adapt to each other and to allow each member of the family to adjust at their own rate. Listen to your children, and make time to be together as a couple. Before long, you will find yourselves working well in your new routine.