Adoption is a courageous and selfless act, one that can enrich the lives of both adoptive parents and children alike. There are many children in need of loving and supportive homes, especially older children. Babies and young children are often in higher demand, but older children also need families. If you've decided to adopt an older child, here are four steps you can take to make the transition easier for your new family member:
1. Allow them to remember and reminisce.
As the Michigan Adoption Resource Exchange notes, hiding photos or items with sentimental value won't necessarily help your new child adjust to their new surroundings. Allow them to keep their photo albums of their biological or former foster families, if they have them. Allowing your child to remember their past can help them come to terms with their future.
2. Be open and accepting.
As your child adjusts to you, his new adoptive family, many emotions may come up. Your child may feel sad, scared, or angry. He or she may feel like they have been abandoned by their biological parents, or afraid that you will abandon him or her. Be there for your child and allow them to work through their difficult feelings at their own pace.
3. Give affection freely.
Your new child may not ask for affection, but you should offer it freely. If they don't feel comfortable with physical affection, such as hugs, you can still show affection through your words and actions. Do thoughtful things for your new child. Participate in their hobbies, give them an extra treat with their lunch, and be quick to offer praise when they do something well.
4. Set healthy boundaries.
Some new adoptive parents are afraid of disciplining their adoptive older child, but healthy boundaries make children feel safe and secure. Disciplining your child doesn't mean being mean-spirited or cruel. Give your child regular age-appropriate chores to do around the house. This will help to teach them responsibility, while also making them feel like a valued member of your family.
Deciding to adopt an older child is an amazing choice. Although the transition of adopting a new child can be difficult and challenging at times, you are giving a child a loving home and family of their own. Adoption can greatly enrich your family's life. By following these four steps, you can make sure that your new child is integrated into your family as smoothly as possible. Talk to experts like those at http://www.achildsdream.org for more information.