You made it through the red tape of the adoption process and you’re finally ready to welcome a child into your family. This is an exciting time, but it’s also rife with unexpected challenges. Realistic expectations are key. Keep the following in mind as you adjust to life as an adoptive parent:
Don’t Worry If You Lack An Immediate Bond
We tend to take a Pollyanna view of adoption. Unfortunately, a strong bond with your child isn’t guaranteed in the first few weeks or even months. These things take time to develop. Don’t be too hard on yourself if you aren’t immediately emotionally bonded the moment you lay eyes on your new child; simply continue to fulfill the role of loving parent.
Sleep Schedule Adjustments
Depending on the age of your adopted child, your sleep schedule could be in for some major upheaval. Many adoptive parents report sleep issues on par with bringing home a biological newborn. With international adoptions, these can be exacerbated by different time zones.
Beware the Honeymoon Phase
Older children may be remarkably well-behaved shortly following adoption. Experts refer to this as the honeymoon period. Once your adopted child feels secure, problem behaviors may emerge. Prepare to be tested via pushed boundaries and outbursts.
Be Prepared For Post-Adoption Depression
A significant share of parents suffer mental health problems in the first few months after adoption. Similar in some respects to postpartum depression, this problem often occurs as parents settle into a new normal. Don’t dismiss difficult feelings; seek help from a counselor or support group.
The better you prepare for the legal logistics of adoption, the easier you’ll find the transition. Contact the law firm of Barna, Guzy & Steffen, Ltd. at your earliest convenience to learn more about our services for adoptive parents.