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Health & Parenting

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Bringing Your Adopted Child Home

What to expect from the adoption process and when your family finally comes together.

Your New Child’s Homecoming continued...

That also means gently discouraging loved ones from playing "pass the baby."

"Let friends and family know that they can't expect to scoop up the baby or child and confuse the situation for a little one who's already going through a lot of changes," Harder says. "You don't need to be totally isolated, but you need to make it clear to the child that you are the parent, the caregiver, and protector."

3. Help Your Child Adjust.

You are overjoyed that your new baby or child is coming home with you -- but it might take your child a little while to feel the same way.

"Your baby or child is being separated from everything they know," Harder says. "Be prepared for what those first days, weeks, and months might be like."

If you'll be bringing home an older baby, toddler, or child, Harder suggests that if it's allowed you send a care package to the child before you meet. That care package could include a photo album of you and your family. "You can also sleep with a small blanket or soft toy that can be sent to the child so that the child learns your familiar smell. That can ease the transition," Harder says.

4. Give Love Time.

"You may expect to fall in love with your child instantly, but that might not happen," Walton says. "You think it'll be this lovely picture where you sit and nurture your child and the child gazes into your eyesright away. But you may not feel that instant bond. You may like but not love your child right away."

That's OK! Parents don't always admit this, but even when you give birth to a child, sometimes you don't always feel that instant rush of love.

"Relationships take work, attachment takes work, and little people take work," Walton says. "It doesn't always happen all at once. That's normal."

5. Cut Yourself Some Slack.

As you're taking care of your child, don't forget to take care of yourself.

People advise moms preparing to give birth to "sleep when the baby sleeps," but they often forget to advise new adoptive parents to similarly give themselves breaks.

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