Caring for Your Adopted Baby: Tips and Resources

“They may not have my eyes, they may not have my smile, but they have all my heart.”

Congratulations, you are a new parent! You have gone through the often challenging steps to adopt a child and let me guess…your heart is already theirs. It takes special people to go through the adoption process, but it does not end there. You may face some unique challenges when you bring baby home. Here are a few things to remember to help you and your new baby adjust…

Keep The Nursery Simple

Don’t expect to settle your baby down in her perfectly prepared new crib atbedtime, say goodnight, and turn out the light. Even a newborn you gave birth to probably wouldn’t settle down to sleep alone in a new crib. A baby or child who’s just been separated from the world he knows needs comfort and closeness.

“Babies and children who have been in an orphanage are used to sleeping in a room with multiple children,” Samantha Walker, associate director for international adoptions at New York’s Spence-Chapin adoption agency, says. “They then arrive in this beautifully decorated room, so lovingly prepared for them, and are expected to sleep alone. They may not be able to settle in by themselves.”

Ease the transition by temporarily moving the crib into your bedroom or placing a mattress or daybed for you in your child’s room until your child feels safe. ~10 Tips for Adoptive Parents, WebMD

Be Understanding and Give Time to Adjust

You are overjoyed that your new baby or child is coming home with you — but it might take your child a little while to feel the same way. “Your baby or child is being separated from everything they know,” Harder says. “Be prepared for what those first days, weeks, and months might be like.”
If you’ll be bringing home an older baby, toddler, or child, Harder suggests that if it’s allowed you send a care package to the child before you meet. That care package could include a photo album of you and your family. “You can also sleep with a small blanket or soft toy that can be sent to the child so that the child learns your familiar smell. That can ease the transition,” Harder says. ~10 Tips for Adoptive Parents, WebMD

Make Bonding a Priority

Spend as much time as you can with your baby. As parents, you should be her only carers for at least the first month. This will give her a chance to focus her attention on you. Limit visitors during this time so that you can get to know each other without interruptions.

When you hold or feed your baby, make sure you have lots of eye contact. This will fuel feelings of care, pride, wonder and love. Talk or sing to her. It will develop your baby’s language skills and hasten the magical day when she says her first “mama” or “dada”.

Show her physical affection by stroking her cheek or holding her hand. If she likes being touched, try some gentle massage. It will encourage feelings of warmth and affection, as well as promoting your baby’s physical and emotional health. Bathtime is a lovely time to bond, too. If you have an older baby, consider taking her in the bath with you. ~BabyCentre


“Family is not defined by our genes, it is built and maintained through love.” ~Amalia G., Independent Adoption Center

Resources: Adoptive Parents Forum

Baby Center Adoption Support

Adoptive Parents Meetups

Adopt Us Kids for Families

Have another resource? Please share it in the comments…


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