4. Identify problems and work on a solution together.
There are a few behaviors common to newly adopted children, such as pulling away from attempts to show affection. Should this be the case with your child, start slowly by asking permission for a hug. In this way, he or she will feel in control instead of being violated. If your child is not ready for a hug, start with a simple pat on the shoulder.
Another common behavior is hoarding or sneaking food. Children who were not adequately fed at their previous residence may do this. Do not make a big issue of this while bonding with your child. Undernourished children need their basic needs met before they are able to attach deeply to a parent. Allow your child to have some snacks in his or her room, or assign a kitchen space that contains “free food” that may be eaten at any time. Eventually, children drop this behavior once they learn to trust that the adoptive parents will feed them consistently.
In addition, it’s important to give your child choices. Many times, older adopted children may feel a loss of control because strangers have been dictating their every move, or they were forced to fend for themselves. Either way, allow them the chance to make appropriate choices. For instance, if your child prefers to wear inappropriate clothing, present him or her with two or three choices from which to select an acceptable alternative. On the other hand, some children have never made a choice for themselves and must be slowly introduced to the concept.
Adoption is a wonderful way to share your love with a child in need. If you have any questions about adoption or adjusting to a new family, please contact us today.