From the moment a waiting adoptive family is matched with a potential birthmother, child in foster care, or internationally the transition begins. The first step to a healthy and positive transition starts with the adoptive parents and their ability to prepare for the life changing events that are about to take place.
Many adoptive parents find this period of time to be one of the most stressful in the adoption process. Knowing your child is about to be born, or is waiting to meet you can be filled with anxiety, fantasy and stress.
It doesn’t matter if you are waiting for the birth of a newborn, planning to travel half way around the world, or waiting to meet the current foster family of your future child–the waiting is terrible!
Adoptive parents can use this time to prepare themselves for the arrival of their new family member. A few things a waiting adoptive family might do are:
- Check your health insurance provider and get references and recommendations from family and friends for a good pediatrician, dentist and eye doctor.
- Obtain the child’s medical files and any family medical history that can be found. If you are adopting a newborn try to spend time with the mother and get as much family medical history as possible. When adopting internationally, try to have your agency provide you with all the medical documentation and a video if possible. For Foster Care adoptions be sure to obtain the full disclosure files and any medical records for the time the child has been in foster care.
- Find out about the community resources in your area before transition. Contact county special child health services, early intervention services, and occupational therapist. You may want to contact an Adoption Certified therapists for post placement therapy of an older child. Learn about your local community and programs offered for a variety of activities, both those that include parents and children as well as independent activities your family may enjoy. Find your local library, zoo and parks and learn about the family centered groups and activities in your community.
- Join a support group for adoptive families from your community. Find out if your community has options and different kinds of support groups with families adopting by the same methods. Enroll in parenting groups offered at community centers, colleges, churches or your local social services departments. Spend time meeting other parents in your community facing both adoption and general parenting issues.
- Communicate with family members and friends about adoption-related issues. Help them transition to adopted relatives. Set up support network with family and friends before you leave. Ask for help with household duties, cleaning, cooking and shopping. Talk with your family about the need to move slow and give your new family member time to adjust.
- Get the baby/child’s room ready. Buy the necessary equipment, toys and supplies to meet the needs of your baby or child when you bring them home.
- Read adoption literature and information about transitions of babies and children from the same situation. Communicate with your spouse about role changes. Talk about how your time will be managed. The new chores and expenses you will have. The kind of support and assistance will you need.
Being ready as adoptive parents and understanding the transition plan you have is key to helping everyone adjust to the change in your family. Once the adoptive parents have their lives prepared for transition the hardest and most wonderful part of the adoption journey really begins, meeting your baby or child for the first time and getting ready to bring them home.
For more information about Transitions:
- Getting Ready For Your Child’s Arrival
- Transition is All About the Baby or Child
- Starting you Child’s LifeBook
- Planning For Transition
- When Travel Is Required
- Transition of Siblings Anna’s Story
- From Orphanage or Institution to Home
- From Foster to Forever in the Some Home
- Toddler Transitions