Welcoming a newly adopted child into the family is a very exciting time after months and even years of planning. You probably feel like you’re more than prepared, but the truth is, it may take more time and effort than imagined. If you are adopting a child who is six years of age or older, it may take more time for them to feel welcomed in their new family.

Adding to your home and family is such a personal experience, it’s natural to want the child to feel comfortable and welcome. Your child may feel overwhelmed by their new environment, especially when they come from particularly tough situations. It is important to remember for older adoptive children, rejection has been on their radar. It may take time to gain their trust, and the best thing you can do is find a way to build a relationship through honesty. Your child should know they can come to you with any concerns they have.

Preparing your family for the new addition

If you already have children and are planning to adopt, you are probably wondering how to best prepare your kids for the new addition. Teach your child to give their sibling space if they seem upset or anxious at first. You’ll also want to remind them not to ask too many questions right away. They may be curious about their new sibling’s birth home life, but this can be a sensitive topic for newly adopted kids.

Not only is communication important between you and your new child, but also with your child who has been living in the home their whole life. Make sure they know that it is safe to talk to you about any concerns they have. Family meetings may help get concerns out in the open early on.

Lay down ground rules

Your adopted kids may have not had structure in their previous home. You’ll want to explain how the house runs, and the fact that there are certain rules for everyone in the household. This is a good way to make your child feel like they are now a part of the family.

Along with setting rules, remember that adopted children can take a while to adjust to their new home. Your job as a parent is to be patient and supportive, no matter how frustrating it can get. Your child has probably not been around many loving environments, so showing them you are going to provide that to them is crucial.