The Plus Side :
- because you already have children you know what normal and abnormal child development looks like
- This may help you pick up subtle cues of attachment issues and head them off right away.
- because you are a seasoned parent adding one more aspect, such as adoption parenting, may be no big deal.
- many parents have learned to be flexible by this time.
- you likely already know how to "read" a child for clues to how to best parent them.
- you have a routine and can incorporate your new child into that existing model with some alterations
- you may have more realistic expectations of children and family life
- you have a community structure in place already, child care, medical care, maybe even adoption support or counseling. You at least know other families who you could ask.
- you know this child will be different and can watch them for what sort of care they need.
- you may already have intentional parenting down, this fits right in.
Things to think about:
- Because you have other children in the home...............
there will be division with siblings bio vs adopted (sometimes happens at various times)
you may be tempted to compare your new children with your bio children
you may be set in one mode of parenting and changing modes to include adoption parenting may be a bit stressful.
you can not form a home life structure that is tailor made to your adopted child's needs
- intentionality--something many parents with a bio infant don't think of until later, and now you have to think about it. This could be good for your other children as well, if it has not been your habit.
- Parents often compare their children to when they were a child. While there seems to be a fondness in this it can actually hinder the individual development of the child as him or herself, especially an adopted child.
- There are times when parents wonder if they have just ruined their bio children's lives by this adoption even though this is usually a passing and unnecessary thought, it comes up along with the accompanying guilt.
- you are not able to be single focused on that new child and their attachment and development. It is more work, you have to deal with everyone else too.
- because of the business of a household you may not pick up on the subtle cues of attachment issues your child is displaying.
- The reasons you adopted could play a factor in difficulty.
- unrealistic expectations of family life and siblings cooperation and love
- seasoned parents may be less flexible as they are already set in their parenting style and family structure.
- often there is one child in the family already who has significant needs and will continue to take a lot of time and energy.
- Read all you can about adoption parenting The Connected Child and attachment/bonding.
- See if Love and Logic or Beyond Consequences could enhance your parenting style.
- be sure you are in an adoption group with others who can help you out when it is hard and give you good resources.
- share the joy of adoption with the children already in the home and prepare them for the hard things and lack of attention they will get for a few months. Plan for their activities to stay as normal as possible with the help of friends and family and for them to get attention from other safe and familiar friends and family.
- Decide on some basics of intentionality if you do not already do that
- know that you are a stranger to your new child and prepare nurturing activities to become fondly familiar. Grieve their loss and prepare to help them grieve.
- Be comfortable with the possibility that your adopted child could need significantly different education, activities, etc. than your bio kids.
- know signs of normal and abnormal behavior and signs of attachment and attachment issues. (I am talking about subtle cues and signs not the extreme ones, you get that in training).
- If you are adopting an older child, get familiar with the issues that could entail.
- plan to be home with your child as the main care giver for as close to a year as you can get.
- Be able to make educational and social choices that will give your adopted child individuality and not compare them or put them in unnecessary competition with other siblings. Separate grades, sports, etc. if needed.
- If you are adopting trans-racially, love may be color blind, but the world is not. Prepare for that, and prepare your family.
See post for Adopting as First Time Parents for the flip side of this post. :)