This guest post is by Alana Redmond, a legal content writer.
Being an adoptive parent comes with mixed emotions. You may fall in love with the new member of your family immediately, but still wonder–is my child happy? Does my child love me?
Worry over how your adopted child is bonding with you is normal and nothing to be ashamed of. You can quell your concerns and enjoy this special time more fully by doing things to strengthen your connection. Celebrate National Adoption Month by bonding with your child at every opportunity.
Prioritize Family Time
To feel more like a family, prioritize family time. Carve out time each day to dedicate toward time spent as a family. Make it part of your routine to give your child a sense of normalcy and consistency.
You can make time at the dinner table for your family time, or play games and puzzles together before bed. Adding someone to your family is an exciting time that’s full of change for everyone.
Making family time a priority can give you all something to look forward to, as well as make your child feel more comfortable in your home. Eventually, it can help your child let his or her guard down and bond more fully with the family.
Honor Your Child’s Heritage
Bonding with your child is about more than just introducing him or her to your family; you also need to honor your child’s past, culture and heritage—especially if you adopted an older child who spent time with other families before yours.
You can help your child feel more at home by making sure he or she knows it’s okay to talk about experiences he or she had before coming to you.
Make an effort to bridge the culture gap if your child has a different culture than the rest of the family. Try to learn the customs related to your child’s background and demonstrate that he or she can still have these things around.
Show that you are welcoming and enthusiastic to learn new things and integrate your child’s culture into his or her new life. Embracing and honoring your child’s heritage can show respect and deepen your bond.
Communicate Openly and Often
One of the simplest ways to bond with your child is through communication. It is important to establish a household of open and honest communication right from the beginning.
Encourage your child to speak his or her mind, even when hearing what your child has to say is difficult. Share your own thoughts, fears and feelings to set the stage for deeper conversations.
Talk often with your child to establish a closer relationship, build trust and find common interests. Remember to respect your child’s space and pace; it is normal for a child to be shy and quiet when first transitioned into a new family.
Adopting a child shouldn’t be all work, all the time. Let your child be just that—a child. Be sure to have fun with your child to forge a stronger bond.
Whether you play a simple board game with your child or take him or her on a special activity with just the two of you, making time to have fun can help your child ease into the new relationship and living situation. Pick something you both love, like fishing or cooking, to bond over a shared favorite activity.
Most importantly, be patient. Every relationship is unique. Don’t force it. Take the time to become a family and for your child to adjust to his or her new home.
Remember, your child is getting used to a whole new life with you. If you expect too much too soon, you may be disappointed—and your child may feel like he or she let you down as a result. Try to sit back, relax and enjoy each day as it comes. The parent-child bond will come naturally over time.
Alana Redmond is a legal content and child safety writer who works with Seidman, Margulis & Fairman, LLP and several other law firms across the country.
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