Posted by: icmadoptionnetwork | May 22, 2013

Preparation for the Homecoming

A great resource provided to us at the Empowered to Connect was a resource packet that provided general guidelines for assisting your child in transitioning to your home. One topic that this packet covered was how to prepare for your child’s homecoming. The packet was completed for more of an international adoption audience, but I think many of these insights can be utilized in domestic adoption as well. Here are some of the tips provided for preparing for your child’s homecoming:

  • Simplify your life and schedule. No matter what type of adoption you are pursuing and what age the child is when he/she comes home, individual attention for that child will be key to a smooth and successful transition for the child, you as the parents, and any other children in the home. You might need to cut out small group or an extra-curricular activities, but that individual time spent with your child cannot be made up for later. It’s now or never.
  • De-clutter the home. For older children, it can be a bonding experience to help them decorate their room once they come home. It also helps to give them ownership of their new home and environment that is all so new to them. Some adopted children also struggle with sensory issues, and can sometimes feel overwhelmed when they experience sensory overload in a new environment. de-cluttering the home and especially their nursery can assist with this.
  • Prepare for success. Be sure that you have completed the necessary training and education in regards to adoption. Read books, watch DVDs, complete online training. Study attachment and bonding, intercultural issues, grief and loss, etc. One great resource is Daniel Siegel’s “Parenting From the Inside Out.” If you want other resources for specific issues, please let your caseworker know and we will gladly provide you with more information.
  • Purchase age-appropriate sensory items. Sensory activities are great for any child at any age. These include trampolines, sit-and-spins, sandboxes, etc. Baby or toddler massage can be a great tool for children as well. If you would like to learn more about sensory issues, visit the website http://www.spdfoundation.net/.
  • Explore your own childhood experiences. When it comes down to it, we learn our parenting strategies from our parents, whether that be us molding our parenting to be like theirs, or us doing the opposite from what we experienced as a child. Take time to journal both the good and the bad parenting that you experienced as a child.
  • Find professionals to assist and support you. Ask our agency, other adoptive parents, friends, and family for recommendations in regards to pediatricians, occupational or behavioral therapists, attachment therapists, etc. Some of the more specific professionals you might never need to access, but it is good to have names and numbers of trusted professionals ahead of time.
  • Visit your school. If you are bringing home a school-age child, and you currently do not have any children in the school system, get to know your local school, principal, and teachers. Discuss with them resources that are available through the school, if they have experience working with children whose first language is not English, and other important factors in your child’s educational needs.
  • Prepare for a work sabbatical/maternity leave. Be sure that all of your preparations are made for your time off of work. Once your child is home, a longer sabbatical might be necessary if your child is struggling with his/her transition. Discuss this possibility with your spouse ahead of time. Be in agreement as to what your “gameplan” is for such a situation.
  • Cultivate a support network. Join a community or church support group. Form relationships with other adoptive parents. My adoption agency has a facebook page, and I have been able to form close bonds with some of the women who are also adopting or have adopted from Taiwan before.

Hopefully these tips come in handy. I know there are many of you that are currently in that waiting time period. These tips can help give you some “homework” to be working on and keep you busy during the difficult waiting time. If there are any additional resources that ICM can get for you, please let us know. We are always here to help!!

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