As you pull up into your driveway, it’s hard not to rejoice and revel when you realize that you’ve successfully conquered the adoption process. After months of paperwork, traversing the home study and the many emotions that go along with the adoption journey — you made it!! Life after adoption. You are finally bringing your newest member of your family home. Now everything can get back to normal, right?
You’re a parent now, and have a newborn to care for. It will take time to adjust back into what you used to know as normal. But, even then, you’ll need to recreate what that means. Life as you know it has been forever changed by your new bundle of joy. The adoption process is only part one. Parenthood is part two.
Stages of Adjustment
Each and every adoption experience is different. Some may go smoothly, while others may have more challenges. No two journeys will be the same. During the first few weeks especially, it’s best to ease back into life after adoption, and to be mindful of the adjustment stages you and your baby will encounter. For instance, it may look something like this:
- Period of separation – Your baby may experience a difficult adjustment period after leaving the hospital, where they cry seemingly for no reason. To them, going from the comfort of their birth mother’s womb to the unfamiliar outside world may be pretty traumatic. Tears and crying is the only way they know how to communicate their confusion, anxiety and fear. Love them through this time. Whisper how much you love them and that they are safe with you.
- Adjusting to one another – Just like with any new relationship, it will take time to establish a bond with your child. If you’re a first time parent especially, having a baby around will take some getting used to. Remember to cut yourself, your partner or spouse, and your baby some slack. Be patient. Get to know your baby. Learn what they like and dislike. Allow your child time to learn the sound of your voice. How you feel and smell. This will help them establish trust. Teach yourself some helpful coping skills to help you get past the sleepless nights.
- Honeymoon phase – This is the stage where life after adoption finally starts to plateau, and your baby’s behavior and temperament show improvement. When your son or daughter starts to reveal their personality, and make you remember all the reasons that choosing adoption and bringing them home was worth it.
Throughout any and all stages of adjustment that you go through, there’s something important to keep in mind. Similar to the Stages of Grief, adjustment has no schedule or pattern that it follows. There may be seasons where it seems your baby goes back and forth. Where he or she has good days and bad days. That’s natural, and all part of the adjustment process. Take it one day at a time, and always tell them how much they are loved.
Adoption Transition Plan
Before you began your adoption journey, you no doubt discussed what it would be like to bring your baby home from the hospital. Where the baby will sleep for the first few days, what baby supplies you’ll need and what style of parenting you intend to use. You may have also talked about how and when you’ll talk to your child about their adoption story. Perhaps certain aspects of these conversations were revisited and altered as you went through the process. That’s ok. Alterations, to some extent, are to be expected, depending on the specifics of your adoption journey.
However, while details may change and morph, keep the foundation of your plan in tact. This will help you be more prepared for anything that comes up, and diminish the risk of catching you off guard. Especially in those moments where your baby is desperate for your attention and comfort, you want to know how to respond and react accordingly. There won’t be time to grab a book and read up on what to do in the heat of the moment.
Life after Adoption
Adjusting back into life after adoption can take time. This is where having banked maternity and paternity leave from work comes in handy. It’s not uncommon for adoptive parents to block off a few weeks to settle in, get to know their new son or daughter, and begin building a relationship with them.
Adoption Choices of New York
For more information on adoption or if you are currently in the process of adopting a baby and have any questions or concerns, feel free to contact, Adoption Choices of New York.
Support Adoption Choices
Adoption Choices, Inc. is partnering with Crowdrise, a fundraising website for nonprofits, to help our adoptive parents and birth parents with much needed financial assistance. We understand that expenses keep clients from fulfilling their dreams. Both with birth parents making a plan for adoption, and with adoptive parents growing their family. It is our mission to provide financial assistance through grants and scholarships, awarded annually in November, in honor of National Adoption Month. Funds assist adoptive parents with matching and placements, adoption finalization and helping birth mothers improve their lives through higher education — and much more.
However, we can’t do it alone. Please read up on our programs and donate money where you are able. Your donation will make a huge impact.
About the Author
Rachel Robertson is a published journalist, book editor, certified Publishing Specialist, and aspiring novelist. She graduated from Central Washington University (CWU) in March 2011, having found her writing voice within the Creative Nonfiction genre and grew to work as a freelance book editor for small presses all across the United States.
In June 2018, she embarked on an internship with Virginia Frank and came on board with Adoption Choices Inc., Not for Profit 501(c)(3), in December 2018. Between her mutual passion with adoption and surrogacy, and her own personal history with adoption, Rachel is excited to research and share topics each week that will spread awareness and better serve the faithful patrons of Adoption Choices Inc.
When Rachel isn’t haunting her local Starbucks or Barnes and Noble, she’s avidly pouring over her Writer’s Digest subscription or cozying up with a cup of tea and book. She currently resides in the beautiful Pacific Northwest with her beloved wife and Border Collie.
“10 Things Adoptive Parents Should Do When Bringing Their Child Home For the First Time.” AdoptTogether, adopttogether.org/10-things-adoptive-parents-should-do-when-bringing-their-child-home-for-the-first-time/.
“9 ‘Easy’ Tips for Surviving 1st 6 Months with Newly Adopted Kids.” Creating a Family, 19 Oct. 2017, creatingafamily.org/adoption-category/tips-for-surviving-1st-6-months-with-newly-adopted-kids/.
“Infant Development: Birth to 3 Months.” Mayo Clinic, Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 29 June 2017, www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/infant-and-toddler-health/in-depth/infant-development/art-20048012.
“Welcome Home Woo Hyuk.” Stages of Adjustment in a Toddler Adoption, www.comeunity.com/adoption/stories/korea-gabe.html.