By THERESA DAVIS
Whether it’s your forever or your foster child, this is a joyous time for your family. Congratulations! You’ve fantasized this moment for a long time, and this is where I burst your bubble.
In TV and movies, the child rushes in the person’s arms and thanks them profusely for their kindness. That’s not going to happen to you. If it has, you’ve had a rare experience. With international adoption, there’s going to be jet lag, culture shock and language barriers. There might be eating at 2 in the morning and sleeping during the day.
Foster kids, even infants, will need time to acclimate. Their world might have been vastly different from yours. The trauma from separating from their families alone can cause fear and sadness, in addition to the reason they were placed in care.
Older kids who have moved around a lot may just want to know the rules and just exist in your house. They already know they might not be with you for long. Go slowly and don’t push too far and too soon. Ask as many questions about your kiddo and their family as you can. Find out who your kiddo’s caseworker and lawyer are and ask about visitation.
Make sure your child feels welcome. Show them their room, explain the rules and establish boundaries as soon as possible. Just like you would any guest in your home, only a bit more important. Start a routine as soon as possible.
Everyone will be curious about your new family member. Respect your child’s and their birth family’s privacy. No one needs to know personal details, but embrace the fact that they’re with you. Do not make negative comments about their birth family.
Remember, you will never be the only mom or dad in your child’s life. They will always love and miss their birth family no matter what happened. Even if you have a closed, private adoption with no contact with your child’s birth family, they will know they are out there somewhere, and it’s very likely they will find them. It’s an occupational hazard of being an adoptive parent. Rest assured they will come to love and appreciate you too. After all, this isn’t the end, but only the beginning.