You’ve finally done it. You’ve overcome every obstacle along the way on your path to adopting a child and now you’re welcoming them into your home with open arms. While you may have gotten this far, the journey is only just beginning.
As a parent, it can be hard to believe that you don’t feel like one big happy family right out of the gate. You want your child to feel at home, but at the same time, you’re worried that it might never happen.
While this can be disheartening, it’s incredibly common. Forging a bond with your child can be difficult, but it’s not impossible. Here are a few ways you can start getting closer with your adopted child.
Don’t Take Rejection Personally
For parents who are experiencing a sense of rejection or distance, it can be hard to connect with their adopted child. It’s also easy for them to blame themselves.
Imagine being in an alien world, with its sights, sounds, and foreign language. An adopted child’s rejection is not a rejection, but rather an inability to process the many changes in his or her life.
Give them Space
Being able to have your own space is very important for an older child or teen. It can be hard to find privacy in foster care and giving them that space will help them feel at home.
It’s important that adopted children feel at home, and that they can feel safe and secure in their new home. This can be a huge help in building a strong bond with their new parents.
Attachment Takes Time
Your child’s age will also play a huge role in how quickly they adapt to their new environment. Children under six months may cry more than usual, refuse to eat, and nap for hours.
If your child is a toddler, prepare for the possibility of experiencing hardship. Most likely, they’ll remember their previous caregivers and feel as if they have lost a loved one. This can cause them to test the limits of their new parents’ patience. Despite all of your best efforts, it may still take a while for your child to fully accept and start accepting your love.
Communication Is Key
Being present and responsive to your child’s needs is very important. Having open lines of communication will allow you to connect and learn more about each other. Your child may also have a slew of questions to ask you as they get to know you, and this can be a great way to get to know one another and build trust.