To celebrate Adoption Month, MK MetroKids wrote an interesting article providing tips on how to parent an adopted child.
The painstaking process of adoption demands so much time and effort, it’s not unusual for adoptive moms and dads to put their practical parenting concerns on the back burner. This fact can lead to anxiety in that crucial post-adoption period, after the child comes home and families start to gel.
Dr. Sue Cornbluth, a psychology professor at Temple University and the national foster care/adoption expert for Examiner.com, urges adoptive parents to begin the bonding process even before the legal process is complete. “Parents need to learn as much as they can about the child’s background before he comes to live with them,” she says. “You have to prepare yourself mentally and physically for what you’re getting into.” Delve into the child’s medical, social and genetic background; to properly parent him in the future, you must know if he’s been ill, abused or neglected in the past.
Bonding with an adopted child
Once you bring your child home, let her acclimate gradually. “In the beginning, make the bonding about getting to know the child and introducing her into your family, into a routine, and making sure she knows she is part of the familiy,” Dr. Cornbluth says. “Whatever your family traditions are, introduce those slowly to your child.”
Dr. Cornbluth emphasizes that bonding and earning a child’s trust occurs over time and that adoptive parents often experience immediate emotional issues such as postpartum depression, just like biological parents of newborns. or families with an adopted child from a different culture, the transition can be even more overwhelming. To create a welcoming environment, parents should honor their child’s culture while introducing their own.
“Prepare yourself by learning about the culture your child comes from ahead of time,” says Tara Gutterman, founder of the Philadelphia-based agency Adoption ARC. “Cook food from their culture, learn the language and observe their customs.” She also recommends that parents set up play dates with another boy or girl adopted from the same culture.