Parents who want to adopt often have a “fairy tale” version
of adoption stuck in their heads. They read about it and they discuss
it with loved ones, but spend most of their time and energy excited about
how wonderful it is going to be when they finally get to bring their newborn home.
When the adoption process begins, they get a better idea of what is involved.
They start to take a more somber approach to the situation – learning
more about the related technicalities and challenges of adopting a child.
Some immediately feel overwhelmed by paperwork, endless research and annoying
red tape. They do a lot of the same preparations that parents expecting
to give birth to a baby enjoy: picking out a name, creating a nursery
for their baby, etc. But there’s one major difference – couples
that are giving birth to a baby have a due date. Adoptive parents have
no due date. They wait.
When the wait is over –and the baby is finally placed in the arms
of the adoptive parents, many are quite ready for the fairy tale portion
of the story to begin. But most must wait a little bit longer. Babies,
particularly if they are past the newborn stage, can present specific
challenges when they are “brought home.” It’s transformative.
This is the point at which adoptive parents discover what it’s really
like to adopt a newborn. It’s amazing, but it also comes with a
unique set of challenges that parents must quickly learn to navigate.
How Adoptive Parents Can Navigate their Newborn’s Homecoming:
Get in touch with one of the experienced adoption lawyers at Arizona Family
Law Attorneys today if you have other questions about how to navigate
the adoption process and prepare for your baby’s first homecoming.
- Accept that there may appear to be developmental delays. Also, be aware
that sometimes development delays are more a coping mechanism for the
major changes that just occurred than anything else. If developmental
delays actually exist know that many can improve on their own through
nurturing and developmental experiences. Interact with your child both
verbally and nonverbally and try to play with them. If necessary, look
into the availability of a local early intervention program in your area
(home-based developmental and behavioral support programs for children
three and under).
- Many recently adopted newborns will experience some form of sleep struggle.
Some may have never slept alone. Some may have shared a crib with another
baby prior to adoption. Some may have slept alongside their caregiver.
It is useful to know what type of sleeping arrangements the baby was accustomed
to prior to coming home. Adopted children often have anxiety symptoms
that come out at night so anything you can do to avoid added stress at
night is useful.
- In some cases, newborns will eat excessively or refuse to eat. Consider
the change in environment, the time difference, the level of nutritional
intake and level of stimulation that your baby experienced previously,
etc. all these changes can impact eating habits. Some babies will deal
with the change by eating too much while others will deal with it by not
eating very much at all. Babies who had limited access to food may sometimes
develop overeating habits or even hoarding tendencies. Feeding your baby
can be a great way to bond – a way to demonstrate your love for
her and win trust. Feeding problems will usually improve on their own
as soon as they adjust to the fact that food is available regularly. After
two months, if there is still an obvious feeding problem, address it with
a trusted pediatrician.
- Limit post-adoptive caretaking responsibilities to nuclear family members
for at least the first month after bringing your baby home in order to
allow your baby to identify you as “family” rather than another
- Take your time when finding the right pediatrician. Meet a few pediatricians
prior to bringing your baby home so you already have your doctor before