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Health & Parenting

Bringing Your Adopted Child Home

What to expect from the adoption process and when your family finally comes together.
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Set Up a Support System

Get family and friends onboard to help out when your baby comes home. No matter how they come into your family, kids mean a very different schedule.

"You really need to set up a support system in advance," Walton, who's had children by birth and adoption, says.

Accept help. "When people ask if they can help," Walton says, "give them a job to do, like bringing food or maybe doing a load of laundry." I tell families that you need at least one person who, if you call at 2 a.m. saying, ‘I don't think I can do this anymore, the baby won't stop crying, and I've been walking the floor for hours,' will say, ‘I'm coming right over to help.'"

Your support system should also include other adoptive families. They can give you empathetic, been-there-done-that advice.

Your New Child’s Homecoming

1. Make the Day Low-Key.

You'll be thrilled to welcome your child home. But you might want to wait on the big celebration for a little while because parties can be overwhelming for a newly adopted child.

"Minimizing the big celebrations at first will serve your child's needs better," Walker says. "A big party can be very stressful, especially for a toddler. Keep the celebrations low-key at first, especially during the first few weeks after coming home."

Family and friends who want to show their happiness for you right after you come home can do it best with a short, mellow visit. They might even volunteer to bring food or do a load of laundry.

2. Keep Your Child Close.

A child who is born to you spends nine months getting to know the sound, scent, and rhythms of its parents while in utero. A baby, toddler, or young child who is adopted needs the same kind of close bonding time to feel safe and comfortable with you as the new parents.

So in the first weeks and months, keep your baby or child as close to you as you can as much as possible.

Try a sling or wrap or other carrier even if your child is a bit older. "I tell parents that they may need to prepare for having a child on your hip who's 30 pounds or more," Harder says.

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