Your transformation from couple to parents is not like flicking on a light switch.
While you may be ready to open your home and begin a life of love together with a child, it’s important to remember that for many adopted children, the initial transition into a new home (possibly even their first real home) can be a difficult one.
Attachment issues mean making a connection between child and parent can sometimes be a challenge. It is not, however, an insurmountable one.
Keep the following in mind to ease the transition:
Know It Has Nothing to Do With You
Many adoptive parents already deal with mild insecurity issues related to the transition to their new life, so it’s not surprising that many place the blame on themselves when their child is having attachment issues.
It’s important to remember that as much as it may feel that way, it’s NOT about you. Your child is trying to cope with a life-changing adjustment, but they do not yet have the maturity or experience to do so.
Just remember that you didn’t cause the situation, but you ARE helping to heal it.
Understand it Will Take Time
Real life is not the movies. Be prepared to accept that your adopted child may not walk into your home, be immediately overcome with joy, and decide at that moment that you are the parents he or she has always dreamed of having.
In the real world, this process can take time. However, that is not a negative thing.
The time you spend building a bond is time spent getting to know one another, getting close to one another, learning about one another, and building a true love between parent and child.
Do Things Together (And Make Sure They’re Fun)
If you want to form a bond with your child, the best way to do it is to experience things together.
From the simple, such as playing board games or watching movies together, to the memorable, like taking day trips and going to fun events, experiencing life together is one of the most important and effective ways of bringing your new family closer together.
Be sure to do it with no strings attached, though. Spending days together should not be a reward for good behavior, for instance. The rewards are the bonds you will be building with one another.
Adjust Your Expectations
You undoubtedly spent a lot of time dreaming about the day you finally became a parent. You had desires, wishes, expectations. That’s all very natural.
However, it may be prudent to adjust your expectations a bit with the understanding that you will eventually experience those things you want to experience, but the road there may be a little different (and possibly bumpier) than you expected.
That’s okay, too. Life doesn’t always give us what we expect. What is important is what we make of what we’re given.
It’s Okay To Seek Help
Finally, understand that there is no shame in seeking help. Attachment difficulties can be hard to cope with for both you and your child.
Seeking the assistance of a professional, advice from a fellow adoptive parent, the ear of someone at your house of worship, or other assistance is not a sign of weakness, it’s a sign that you want to be the best parent possible.
And that is a very good thing indeed.