The choice to start a family, whether you are going to have children biologically or through adoption, is one of the biggest decisions you will ever make. For many people, preparation to adopt a child can be overwhelming. Most families are not prepared to adopt a child without making many changes.

Do Your Homework

Before you fully commit yourself to the adoption process, you should study adoption issues and the various types of adoption in order to determine whether or not adoption is right for you. The rewards of adoption are immeasurable. However, adoption is a time-consuming and expensive process that may not be right for everyone. Educate yourself regarding the adoption process. To do this, there are countless resources on the Internet, from government websites to adoption agency home pages, to the personal blogs of adoptive parents.

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Check out books from the library and read about the challenges that adopted children face as they grow into young adults. Many adopted children have come from difficult circumstances that may affect them later in life as they grow and develop. As a parent, you will need to be sensitive to your child’s needs.

Share the News With Family

Talk to your extended family members (such as parents, brothers, sisters) about your decision to adopt a child. Consider the way you plan to tell each family member before coming out with the news. Take the time to announce the news to your family in a way that stresses their importance as potential new grandparents, aunts and uncles.

Educate your family members about the adoption process and what they can expect in the coming months. Make the effort to share with them the joy and anxieties you may be experiencing, to make them feel connected to your experience. Your adopted child will need to have the support of extended family, to give them the security they will need, so it is important that you encourage your extended family to take an active role in the process.

Changes to Your Lifestyle

You will likely need to make changes to your lifestyle and environment in order to prepare for your coming child. Adopting a child can be different from giving birth to an infant because in many cases, adopted children are somewhat older and have needs that are different from infants. If your child is school age, you will need to find out what school is in your district, what you will need in order to enroll your child and if the school has any special programs that will benefit your child. A few things you may never have considered but will need to give thought to include, how will your child get to school and how will your child get home? If you will be unable to pick up your child directly after school, where will your child go in the mean time?

If you are adopting a child who is younger than school age, you will need some way to care for your child during the day. This will either mean that you will need to make arrangements for an adult to be home during the day (which is not always possible), or you will need to find a day care facility where your child will be comfortable and well cared for. Explore the different day care options by visiting many different sites.

These are only a few of the many issues to consider to ensure that you are prepared to care for your child. Your child will need health insurance, a pediatrician, dentist, toys and clothes. If your child is old enough to eat solid foods, you may need to make adjustments to your diet so that your child is happy with the food served at the table. Preparing food for a family with children can be very different from preparing food for adults, and you may need to change your diet, at least for a while. When your child has just arrived in your house, it will be important to make the transition for your child as smooth as possible–which may mean that you will serve food your child is known to like at meal times. Although you may not always wish to accommodate your child in this way, it will help at first.

Make Your Child’s Room

Your child will need a space of their own. It’s natural for expecting parents to prepare a nursery for their new arrival–your job as an adoptive parent is the same. This may be doubly important if you plan to adopt a child older than one or two years old, as your child will have memories of previous homes and will inevitably become homesick and even traumatized by the new change in environment. You must find ways to make the space for your child seem inviting, welcoming and most important safe. Soothing colors, soft stuffed animals and soft blankets are all natural additions to a safe room for a child. If your adopted child is older, try to make the space personal to the tastes of your child, if you know what those tastes are.

Add small touches to the room, like a sign on the door with your child’s name on it. As you learn things about your child’s preferences and tastes in toys, books and games, try to collect these items one at a time, to make your child feel truly welcome and at home.

Take Time For Yourself

The last thing you should remember as you prepare to adopt is to take time for yourself. Adoption is a joyful, stressful, anxiety-causing event. You may find yourself caught in a slew of emotions over the coming arrival of your child–this is natural and expected. Look into adoptive parent support groups. Take time to do the things that put you at ease–like meditation, listening to music, drinking tea or reading a book.

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