There are not enough self-help books, message boards, and online advice to adequately prepare you for the colossal task of becoming an adoptive parent. Even if you have wanted this for a long time (with binders full of guides and articles to show for it), nothing can prepare you for the curveballs that come with becoming a new parent.
So you have consulted with a family law firm in Albuquerque to prepare the adoption process. But where the legal process ends, your real journey begins. Adoptive parents are confronted with many challenges, and your foster child might have issues that the two of you will have to face head-on.
While a little bit of wisdom, patience, and affection can go a long way, you need concrete advice.
1. Don’t try to “fix” them
It’s not uncommon for adoptive children to have attachment or behavioral issues at the beginning. Neglect, trauma, and lack of stability can severely hinder development, especially at the early stages of childhood. Do not expect fast results, especially if your child has issues that they have to work through. If they seem detached or unappreciative, do not assume that they do not care for you.
Frustration is normal. Do not make everything about your child. Make sure to allocate some time for self-care and your personal life. You can also seek help from support groups or therapy to help you better understand your situation.
2. Set the ground rules
From the very beginning, make sure to set the house rules for rewards and consequences. This will help ground your child and introduce structure into their lives. The rules should be realistic and appropriate for the child’s age. For instance, sweeping the floor is suitable for a 10-year-old, not a toddler.
Some children, even older ones, can find simple tasks difficult to do as a result of underdevelopment due to neglect or stress. Level with your child and be as specific as you need to be. If they need a step-by-step guide to simple household chores, give him one to help them perform the tasks on their own.
3. Allow them to experience things
Neglect and lack of stimulation can deprive a child of experiences that most children enjoy. Allow them to experience things they might have missed out, even if they are a bit older. Allowing them to experience behaviors from previous developmental stages can help them to move past the trauma.
Do not think much of their age and about what other people will think. Your child is not regressing; they are just allowing themselves to enjoy something they have been denied for a long time. Indulging your child also signals to them that you care for their well-being.
Not all adoptive children have developmental and behavioral issues. However, the absence of stability and a nurturing environment can provoke misbehavior from newly adopted children. Successfully navigating through this stage will require a lot of patience and understanding, but the payoff is worth it once you see your child closing old wounds and moving past trauma.