Adopting an infant allows its new parents to create a bond with their new bundle of joy. However, adopting a toddler that has already had some life experiences can call for understanding and patience. The child may have already experienced poverty, abandonment and possibly abuse.
Taking into consideration the unique factors that pertain to the child can help parents act with empathy and patience. Establishing a secure, stable and loving environment takes a concentrated effort.
Adjustment strategies after adoption
Here are some helpful suggestions, according to the director of Texas Christian University’s Institute of Child Development:
- No “time-outs”: A common parenting strategy for dealing with an unruly toddler is often to place them in time-out. Time-outs involve a parent placing a child alone to think about their actions as a form of punishment. Children that already have abandonment issues may misinterpret this method as isolation that confirms their suspicion that the world is against them.
- Hoarding: When some toddlers have experienced a lack of food due to extreme poverty or neglect, they may hoard food. The center encourages adoptive parents to allow their toddlers to hoard food, which is a natural part of acclimating to their new environment.
- Touch: The center also points out that the sense of touch is essential to helping a child develop healthy neural connections in the brain. So, feel free to be affectionate and hold your toddler and be sure to include plenty of face-to-face interaction.
- Calming atmosphere: Introducing your child to bright colors and brilliant patterns can be overwhelming to them when they’ve only previously experienced an environment void of them. The center recommends that you decorate your child’s room with subtle colors and gentle patterns.
Adopting a child who has already found the world cold may require you to take some effort to introduce them to a new way of living and being.
If you are considering adopting a child, you’ll want to surround yourself with individuals experienced in family law matters such as adoption in Louisiana.