Adopting an Older Child

Adopting an older child

Adopting an older child (above 2 years of age) presents a different kind of challenge. It is almost like bringing home a full-fledged individual with a definite past and a set behavioral pattern. But on the bright side, you are spared the nappy routine, late-night feeds and colic!

When bringing an older child home, it goes without saying that the adoptive parents need to be ready to accept the child unconditionally. Remember, the child could be from an orphanage or foster home with painful memories. The child may also have difficulty in adjusting with the new family. It could take sometime before the child accepts you as her life-long parents. But by giving the child much love, undivided attention and security, you can turn things around quickly and help settle the child.

Read: Work and Child Care

Expect The Unexpected

Prepare yourself by gathering information on the effects of long-term abuse and neglect, adoption and family adjustments. Try to meet other adoptive families or join a support group before you bring the child home. Ask for advice and find out what challenges they encountered.

Attachment issues may also crop up – especially with older children – and you may have to work on it to facilitate smooth integration into your home.

Assume The Child Is Younger

Whether your child is from a foster home or an orphanage, there may be developmental, social, and psychological “steps” that he could have missed. By treating her a few years younger, you could reduce any pressures that she could be feeling. This will also allow the child to live and ‘pick-up’ the stages that she missed.

Read: 12 simple things you should say or do to your child everyday

Help Your Child Get Over Her Pain

Allow your child to talk about his worst fears, happiest moments and insecurities – and let him take his time to overcome the pain. Do not participate in family gatherings unless the child is comfortable with the inner family core. You can help by sharing your past with the child and rationalizing your reason for adoption.

Show Love And Care – Lots of it!

You and your new child could have missed out on the baby and toddler interactions that usually occur between parent and child. So shower your child with love, sing lullabies, tell bedtime stories and demonstrate in simple ways that you care. Hug as often as possible to show your child that you love her and that she is safe and cared for. Sometimes, just being there for you child and allowing her to feel comfortable helps in making the transition easier.

Read: 8 wonderful benefits of hugging your child

Have Fun

Do everything possible to snatch moments to laugh together, share a giggle, or play a game. It will help you discover your child’s unique qualities, and help your child understand that life is a blend of various emotions and different activities. And together, you can help your child rebuild dreams of a healthy family life.

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