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.

Educate others

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.

Set boundaries

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. 

Stay consistent

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.

Be patient

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!

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Managing Parental Stress During a Pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic has taken its toll on the country and the world in more ways than one. For parents, that stress is heightened as you work to adjust to a new ‘normal.’ Maybe that’s working from home full-time or coping with a job loss. Maybe it’s adapting to at-home schooling for your children while you juggle everything else that comes with parenthood. Whatever your unique case, it’s stressful — to say the least. That’s why I’m sharing some tips to help you navigate that stress as we continue to navigate the pandemic.

Connect (virtually) with others

We may not be able to be around those we love physically, but we can still connect virtually. Schedule time to check in on family, friends, and other loves ones. You can also connect with other parents with shared experiences through virtual support groups and communities. There, you can share your thoughts and feelings, have conversations about parenting during a pandemic, and learn what’s working (and what’s not) for other parents. Connecting to others who are going through the exact same thing helps reinforce that you are not alone in this.

Schedule downtime or alone time

If you’ve been self-isolating at home, you may already feel like you have a lot of downtime, but that’s not often the case. Make it a priority to schedule time to relax, unplug, and clear your headspace. Whether you spend that time alone or as a family, it’s a great way to ease symptoms of stress and anxiety. You can do things like:

  • Create a self-care routine
  • Go for walks, hikes, or bikes outside
  • Take a long bath
  • Do an outdoor activity
  • Practice journaling
  • Take a nap
  • And much more!

Prioritize your mental health

Stress, anxiety, and depression are amongst the symptoms several people are experiencing right now. Lack of knowledge about the disease, financial issues, health risks, social media, isolation, and disconnect from your loved ones…all of this and more are drivers to those symptoms. As a result, it makes it that much more difficult to take care of yourself, let alone your little ones. Be sure you’re taking time to prioritize your mental health, like:

  • Talking to a licensed counselor or therapist
  • Exploring treatment options with your doctor
  • Take breaks when you need them
  • Practice self-care
  • Limit your social media and news consumption

You can also tap into the CDC’s free resources for coping with mental health.

Make sure you get enough sleep

A lack of sleep for you — and for baby — can have negative effects on the entire family. Sleep is not only crucial for children’s’ development, but it can better help you manage the day-to-day of parenthood. Make sure you’re doing things like:

You can also maximize everyone’s sleep through my proven sleep method to ensure the entire family gets the rest they need. You can learn more through your own (virtual) complimentary sleep assessment.

Don’t be too hard on yourself

We can’t control everything that’s happening during this pandemic, so it’s important to focus on the things we can control. So, don’t be too hard on yourself and know that you’re doing the best you can. You are not alone in this, and I’m always here to provide any extra support for you, baby, and your whole family.

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