5+ Tips For Adjusting To Parenthood After Adoption
November is National Adoption Month, celebrating and recognizing adoptive families everywhere. As those families well know, the adoption process — and life afterward — can be emotional and challenging. So, how do you navigate it all? Here, we’re sharing tips for parents and how they can better adjust to parenthood after adoption.
Adoptive families are often hit with never-ending questions about their newest family member(s): How old are they? Where are they from? Is the adoption open or closed? And, if your adopted child comes from a different cultural background, you may get additional questions about their ethnicity or race — some of which may be offensive or intrusive.
If you’re comfortable and able, consider educating those around you. Talking to them ahead of time can help prevent any questions or discussions from taking place in front of your adopted child. It can also help everyone navigate future situations in which your child may be unintentionally singled out. Of course, only share information that you want; the goal here is to minimize any post-adoption stress you may experience from others.
Part of that education can also include boundary setting. For example, maybe you don’t want to share any information at all about your adoptive family — and that’s ok! Set the boundary with others that you don’t prefer that anyone ask any questions, and only treat your new family member(s) as they would treat you.
Another reason to set boundaries is to reduce the amount of stress your child may be experiencing. Meeting new people, adjusting to a new environment, doing too many activities — it can all be a lot to take in. But everyone — including you — needs space to adapt and settle into your new normal.
Consistency is great for every child, but especially children who have likely never experienced it. Creating consistency can also help adoptive children adapt to their new home life, as it develops a sense of stability and security. You can do that through:
- Bedtime routines
- Feeding or mealtime routines
- Consistent rewards and discipline
- Schooltime or daycare routines
- …and anything else you can think of!
Remember: Routines are also as important for you and they are your adoptive children and can help make the post-adoption adjustment much smoother.
Whether you adopt a newborn, infant, or older child, bonding may not happen immediately. If they’ve lived in previous homes, they may act out or become defiant. And that’s all normal. If you exercise patience and continue to make your child feel loved and safe, you can start to form a stronger bond and build your relationship.
Ask for help
When it comes to adoption, many parents may not be prepared for how it can impact their patience, partnerships, and other aspects of their life. Parenthood is a huge undertaking in any circumstance — an undertaking that’s made easier with help. You can seek help through:
- Family and friends
- Licensed counselor or therapist (for yourself, you and your partner, your adoptive child, or the entire family)
- Adoption support communities (in-person or online)
- Fellow families who have gone through the same process
- Nannies and babysitters
Don’t forget: Your own self-care is crucial as you adjust to parenthood after adoption, and there’s no shame in asking for help. In addition to the above resources, Sleep by Rachelle is here to help, too. Rachelle’s proven sleep training method has helped different families from all different backgrounds achieve the rest they deserve. Schedule your free consultation today!