When it comes to adoption, there are some challenges when it comes to making sure your child feels included in the family. Make your adopted child feel more included without focusing solely on them. It’s a challenging prospect, but one you will have to face if you are determined to build a harmonious home and family.
It’s common for adopted children, and their parents, to go through a period of wondering whether they will fit into the family naturally one day. However, setting biological differences aside, there are too many cases to ignore where the person who was adopted has been introduced into a family with the love and support they needed to create an eternal parent-child bond. What may have worked for one family may not work for yours, but here are some tips to try and work in in order to make your child feel more included.
- Don’t rush love
Just like you didn’t rush into the adoption process, you shouldn’t rush the bonding experience. Instead, take a step back and observe the small ways in which your child is reaching further and further out to you. Maybe they smile a little more when you walk in the room, or you’ve found a common interest or you’ve discovered that you have the same quirk. Rest in those moments a little more and marvel at all the magical ways bonding takes place at its own pace. You will get there together and only together.
Each stage of a baby’s and child’s development requires different things from the parent to build trust and love.
- Read together
Reading time is sacred time for several reasons: we rarely do it anymore, it’s one of the quietest and calmest activities we engage in and it’s a beautiful opportunity to connect in a whole other world of fantasy. You may be reading with a toddler who barely understands the words, or a child is doing most of the reading; either way, it is a stress-melting way to end the day while you sit close and share a bedtime snack.
AdoptionsFromTheHeart.com has a list of books you can consider including in this ritual to have the most impact.
- Involve the other kids
If your adopted child is going to feel more like a part of the family, they must feel like they are on equal footing with the other children in the home and beyond. While it’s sensible to set the same rules and expectations for all kids in the house, it sometimes gets overlooked outside.
Are you taking the same steps when your child is playing with their new cousins, or on the playground? Kids can innately sense that you are coddling or protecting the newest addition, and that’s perfectly common at first. But, you must let them pitch in just like the rest of the kids or they won’t quite feel like they are “one or part of the gang”. This is much easier when bringing a very young baby into the family and will take a little more patience and encouragement for older kids, but the payoff when you see all children in the family working and playing as a unit is priceless.
- Start new traditions
If for you, the word “family” is synonymous with the word “tradition” then you’re not alone. Families are built and glued (and sometimes re-glued together) with traditions.
Start up a new tradition when your adopted child arrives and not only will they feel welcomed, they will see what a positive impact they are already having in their home. If they come from a different ethnic background, you can always use that as inspiration for the tradition but as long as you make it fun and sustainable throughout the years, it will be perfect.
Need a few ideas for new family traditions? Try some of these totally fun and goofy activities and see what sticks! Even just in trying out new things you will be bonding.
Just remember that it is possible, with much patience and compassion, for your new family to bond unconditionally.
Author Bio: Maxine Chalker is the founder and Executive Director of Adoptions From The Heart. She holds a MSW and LSW which she uses to give adoption a new face by breaking down the barriers and taking some of the mystery out of the adoption process. Chalker was also adopted.