How do you prepare for something so huge as your adoptive child moving into your home – permanently?
We certainly had little clue to begin with back in January, and whilst the social workers will discuss the needs of an adoptive child moving – they don’t always cover all the bases.
The same goes for the foster carers. We were very fortunate with our foster carer, and she gave us great advice, but that is not always the case.
Hopefully this list will help you prepare for when your adoptive child comes to live with you. Many of these ideas are my wife’s, so we have her to thank for this list being so comprehensive.
This list is dependent upon the age of the child(ren) you are adopting. You may want to use more age appropriate methods.
1. Establish a routine
This is adoption 101 really. The adoptive child will need a routine in place to thrive. We copied the foster carer’s routine from day one, and have tweaked appropriately as our son settled.
2. Ensure you have the same washing powder, bath soap, toothpaste as the foster carer
This is to ensure the odours remain the same for the child, so they can smell something familiar, and are not hit with a range of new sensations.
3. Baby proof the house
We bought magnetic locks which are brilliant but annoying, I can recommend these magnetic locks at £12.60 for a pack, if you can put up with the frustration. I would also recommend obtaining a baby proofing kit:
Dreambaby Household Safety Kit Value Pack (White, 26 Pieces) – £8.84
Dreambaby No Tools No Screws Safety Kit Uk – Value Pack 35pcs (White, 35 Pieces) – £12.42
First Steps – 20 Piece Safety Starter Kit – Fridge Locks Socket Covers Safety Latches.. – £10.58
4. Ask about pictures of the child, ensuring you get as many as possible
When your child is of the age to ask questions, it will help massively to be able to show them pictures of their life, both with you, and also with any other carers they have had during their life – birth parents, grandparents, foster carers.
5. Have a picture of your adoptive child in the house
Try and get pictures of them during introductions and get them framed and in your house. This will help them feel valued when they come to you.
6. Get laminated pictures of the foster carer, and family
This helps with the transition between the foster carer and you. It can reassure the child that the foster carer has not forgotten them, and you can use the pictures to discuss the foster carer at appropriate moments. Again this helps them come to terms with a move.
7. Get hold of the red book
I never knew about a red book until we actually adopted. It is basically the medical history, and early development (height, weight and so on) of the child. The foster carer should have it. Make sure you get it with the child. Health visitors need to refer to it, and detail their own check ups in it.
8. Create a picture book
This should be done before the child moves in really. We bought a picture book, recorded our voices and put pictures in. The idea is that the foster carer uses it with the child before the introductions. We used this book, and I can highly recommend it. It was perfect for our needs: Tomy Discovery Forget Me Not Photo Album – £17.65
9. Label toys
This was a great idea from my wife. Our son came with a few toys, and we wanted to know how he obtained them. We asked the foster carer to label the toys that came with him, so we can communicate to him, when the time is right, how he got them. If he ever asks about his fire truck – we know where it is from, and who gave it to him!
10. Get some bath toys
This was a major factor in turning our boy’s bath time attitude around. We worked hard to get him to like the bath, and got a load of toys. This Bug Pod Bath Toy Scoop at £25.99 is superb for sweeping up the toys in the bath, and storing the toys, shampoo and body wash without cluttering the bathroom.
11. Get bedding and clothing
The foster carer will include clothing with the child. Try also to get bedding if you can. This helps with the familiarity of things, so the transition is made smoother for the child. We also included drinking and milk bottles, nappies, baby wipes, and shoes in this. Your adoptive child needs to feel as safe and secure as possible. Familiar items help with this.