Last updated on Jun 25th, 2016 at 01:50 pm
Welcoming your adopted baby or child into your home and family can present challenges. The journey must be navigated with sensitivity and an open mind.
Pregnancy brings with it a number of changes that mentally and emotionally prepare a new mother to care for her baby. Often the new mom and her baby work together to establish a rhythm and means of communicating immediately from birth.
As a new mother to an adopted baby you haven’t had the nine months of pregnancy which bring about hormonal changes, naturally preparing you for your baby’s arrival
However, you can also create a deep connection with your adopted baby and too find a rhythm with them.
In preparing for your new baby, spend some time to focus on yourself
You want to welcome them with an enormous sense of warmth, positivity and patience. Most new mothers are nervous, whether they’re welcoming their birth child or an adopted child into their world, but don’t let your anxiety get the better of you.
Remember that bonding cannot be forced and your relationship may take a little time before it’s completely secure. This is especially true if you are adopting a toddler as opposed to an infant.
Remember that bonding cannot be forced and your relationship may take a little time before it’s completely secure. This is especially true if you are adopting a toddler as opposed to an infant
Remember, the more relaxed you are the better, as your child will feed off your energy.
In the months leading up to the arrival of your new little addition, busy yourself by preparing your home and family members
Spend some time really learning about your child. If they’re an infant then learn everything you’ll need to know about their needs, find out about their sleeping habits and feeding routines and enquire about activities they really enjoy. For instance, find out if you should invest in a tummy-time activity mat because that’s their favourite playtime or whether you should buy a walking ring to appease their physical curiosity.
If your child is over two years old then make a point of discovering their favourite colour, animal, games, food and superhero. You could decorate their new bedroom appropriately and begin a toy box that’s filled with their favourite things.
The process of adoption in South Africa, while a difficult road to walk, is supported by organisations dedicated to the wellbeing of orphaned children.
Maintain already established routines
Routine is imperative to a child’s life. No matter whether they’re an infant or a teenager, routine creates structure which in turn leads to children feeling secure. Make sure to understand the routine your child is currently in and then be prepared to replicate that routine in your home once they’ve moved in.
If you want to change the routine or add to it then do so slowly, integrating the new aspects one at a time. With so much change taking place, both you and your child are likely to feel a bit overwhelmed so don’t add any more change to this already transitional situation.
Include the community and introduce your child to all that it has to offer
There’s an old sentiment that denotes that it takes an entire village to successfully raise a child and when it comes to your new adoptive child you should take this to heart. The best way to make them feel welcome is to include your child in your greater community.
Take them along to all your social occasions: if you go to church then sign them up for Sunday school and enquire about extramural activities they can partake in. In this way, you’re constantly affirming their belonging in your life and family. If you’ve adopted an infant then sign up for group activities with other new mothers where you can mingle and find support in your new role.