In the adoption world, a child is classified as older when they are over the age of two. While the transition might be simpler with a younger child, it is important to remember these children have been through more than most kids. They probably don’t have a routine and there is a lack of trust. It’s your role as a parent to establish routine and trust in their lives by:
• Meeting the child’s basic needs
• Setting boundaries
• Establishing rules
• Allowing consequences to child’s actions
Here are some tips for adopting an older child:
1. Establish a routine. This will help your child and you get used to your new lives together. Most likely older children have been in and out of foster homes where their lives are disrupted on a regular basis. Establishing routine will establish trust between you and them.
2. Know there will be a honeymoon phase. Your child may have the best manners when they initially arrive. This is more than likely a honeymoon phase. These children have been through a lot in their short lives. They want to be accepted in your home and family. Once comfortable, they may exhibit behavior that is less than satisfactory. Be patient. They are adjusting to their new life as much as you are, and maybe more depending on their previous circumstances.
3. Provide access to food and drink at all times. This helps them trust you and know you are going to take care of them in the proper way. This doesn’t mean that you should indulge.
4. Don’t make promises you can’t keep. These children have been through a lot. Many people have made and not kept promises with them. Don’t be one of those people.
5. Don’t overstimulate them. We often think of overstimulation when it comes to newborns and small children but the same holds true for older children who are adopted. They are getting used to the new routine and surroundings. Bringing them to every neighborhood event is just compounding the stimulation and may at least in the short term cause more harm than good.
Take a deep breath. You’ve changed the life of a child for the better by choosing to adopt an older child. While it will take some time to adjust, we are hopeful for you and your new family.
For more information about adoption and other family law issues, contact us today!