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- Parenting Skills, Styles & Advice
I remember the day I left on my trip to bring our oldest son Mark home like yesterday, although it was 23 years ago. We had recently been told to finalize our adoption at least one parent had to travel to Vietnam. Neither of us had a passport or has ever been outside the country. Yet, here I was two weeks later on a flight bound for Hanoi. I arrived 36 hours later. after a bumpy ride from the airport, we pulled in a Tu Liem orphanage. In the space of a moment, my world changed. I was handed my son.
"Adopting one child won't change the world, but for that one child, the world will change"
Anticipation of joy
The day you pick up your child is indescribably joyful. Your long held dream is coming true..everything you have wanted to be! The waiting has been unbearable and it is hard to believe that today that wait will end!
It's also a day of tremendous change and sudden responsibility that can feel a but overwhelming. Are those feelings ok? The answer is a resounding YES! All new parents, adoptive or not, have those emotions. How do you cope with them? Here are a few tips from a seasoned veteran to the new kids of the adoption journey:
1. It's ok to feel that way
The biggest gift I gave myself was permission to have my emotions-whatever they were-without self judgement. Excitement, fear, joy, panic. It is ok to feel whatever you are feeling! Just as a mother goes through delivery pains, your brain is preparing you for the emotions of parenthood. This self care will always be important to maintain Turn to friends who have adopted, family, support groups or a therapist to be sure you feel heard and understood. Secure your own oxygen mask first so you can help others!
Secure your own oxygen mask first so that you can help others— Megan Swope
2. Just say YES to meals and help
You are a new parent and as such, say YES to offers of help. You are NOT superwoman. Let people share these acts of kindness and receive them without guilt. You will someday pay it forward. It is what we are supposed to do as humans. Circle in and support each other. Let them.
Have a friend create a meal schedule or have meals delivered
- Meal Train | Meal Calendar for New Parents, Surgery, Illness, and More
Organize meal giving around births, surgeries, illnesses, and group events. Simplify giving and receiving with a free meal sign up.
- Take them a Meal
3. Take your full maternity/paternity leave
This may seem like a no brainer but I have met people who thought they should go back early or didn't realize they could use this benefit. As an adoptive parent, both apply and you need this bonding time. Not to mention, you will probably be sleep deprived and need to nap when they nap!
4. Give it time
It may be rough the first few days or weeks. Sleepless nights and, depending on the age of your child, temper tantrums. Remember, they are adjusting too. Keep your routine quiet and limit visitors to just close family. Everything is new for them-smells, voices, and possibly, the language. Let them adjust to the core circle.
5. Be sure to savor the moments
These first moments are precious and you will want to look back at how far you have come. No matter what age your new addition is, create a welcome home book and fill it will journal entries, photos, videos and cards sent by friends and family. There are baby books designed specifically for adoptions. Check them out!
Take a moment. Take a deep breath and step back. Take a break when needed. Children learn patience, grace and all coping skills by watching us succeed and struggle. When you feel overwhelmed, lean on faith and take a deep breath. In a more relaxed state, you will think more clearly.