New parents always have to go through an adjustment period. When you adopt, however, your child may also struggle with the adjustment to their new home.
This may be particularly true if your child is coming from a foster home or another situation that may have left them without a sense of security. Your love and understanding during this time, however, can help them integrate into your family and their surroundings with ease.
5 steps in the integration process after adoption
According to the government site Child Welfare, the integration process has been described as having 5 steps:
- Reconstruct the child’s placement history: If the child is old enough to participate, some adoptive parents create a “Life Book” with the adopted child. It is important to document and preserve the child’s history with photos, documents and even the child’s own drawings.
- Identify people with whom the child has an attachment: It can be helpful to identify and document people in the Life Book with whom the child has felt an attachment. These people could be biological parents, other siblings, school teachers, foster care families and coaches.
- Involve the people with whom the child has an attachment: This may not always be possible. If people that the child feels close to can continue to be involved in the child’s life, it helps with consistency and facilitates the transition process.
- Give them permission to love the people from their past: It is important that the child receives the message from their adoptive parents that they are not being unfaithful by continuing to love people from their past.
- Give them permission to love their new family: It is equally helpful that the child receives the message from the people that they love from their past that they are allowed and encouraged to love their new family.
All of these strategies help to communicate to a young mind that they are safe, secure and loved by people from their past and present.
If dealing with the adoption process, or looking to adopt, it can be helpful to have professional guidance that is experienced in adoptive parents’ rights when adopting from public agencies or foster care.