As a first-time adoptive parent in South Carolina, you may have everything you need in terms of personal preparation. You have read all the books, talked to experts and prepared your home for its newest member. On the adopted child’s end, however, things could look very different.
Adoption into a new family can change a child’s life for the better. The transition, however, can be traumatic. There are steps you and your family can take to make the experience easier for an adopted child.
Communicate with the agency
Preparing a child for adoption is largely the agency’s responsibility. Stay in constant contact with the adoption agency to make sure it is doing everything it should on its end. This may include discussing the adoption with the child, getting the child’s permission and answering any questions the child may have. The agency should encourage the child to ask questions about you and your family before the change.
Schedule a preplacement visit
Most adoption agencies will allow older children to engage in preplacement visits with their prospective families before finalizing the adoption. Find out if this is something that is available to you. If so, visiting with the child prior to full-time placement can help ease both sides into the transition. The child can become familiar with you and start to look forward to the adoption, rather than being left in the dark or feeling abandoned.
Consider the child’s needs
After the child has moved in, do not dismiss the child’s life before he or she lived with you. Encourage conversations about the child’s past, if he or she wants to talk about it. Respect the child’s relationships with friends, biological parents or family members (as long as they are healthy and safe relationships). Work to remove any guilt the child may have after placement. Consider enrolling in family or individual therapy for the child to help ease the transition.