11 great ideas to help prepare for your adoptive child moving in

May 3, 2013 19 Comments

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.

Related posts:

About the Author:

Andrew is an adoptive father, and stay at home dad. Having adopted his son in January 2013, he is a new adoptive parent, but well versed in the adoption process. He is a married, coffee drinker, Xbox addict, and a Marketing graduate. Andrew McDougall is an alias he uses to protect the identity of his adopted son.

Comments (19)

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  1. Emma says:

    What fantastic tips. I love your blog, I am sure it will prove invaluable to many future adoptive parents. too!..
    Emma recently posted..The Morning After…My Profile

  2. emily says:

    Wow, so much respect for adoptive parents and foster carers, the hoops they have to jump through and the steps they taje to ensure the child feels safe and secure. Im sure many will find this useful. :)
    emily recently posted..The Baby Diaries: 1 monthMy Profile

  3. Great tips! I am just preparing to move a little boy on to his adoptive family, and these are some of the things we have discussed. Unfortunately, foster carers often don’t have as much to pass on as we’d like – this little one came to my home with a bottle of juice and the clothes he was standing in, nothing else. In over a year, nobody in his family has ever bought him a present (Christmas and two birthdays) and he has only received one birthday card. I never saw his red book and it seems that it is lost. His memory box will be quite a sad-looking thing, mainly filled with things accumulated during his time here with us. I met his new Mummy for the first time yesterday and I was filled with sadness for him anew as I explained all of this to her. She now has the difficult task of raising a child who is secure in his identity when so much of his past life is irretrievably lost.
    Suddenly Mummy recently posted..My First Taste of Post-Adoption SupportMy Profile

  4. Vicki says:

    Great tips, and of course there are so many more to add too! I’m sure adoptive parents of young children will find this really useful.

    Thanks for linking it up to The Weekly Adoption Shout Out x
    Vicki recently posted..Tell me how good I am mummy…My Profile

  5. Sezz says:

    Great tips for any prospective adopter. Good post.
    Sezz recently posted..FireworkMy Profile

  6. Pinkoddy says:

    What a really thoughtful post and I am very impressed with how much you consider the child.
    Pinkoddy recently posted..Parent-Child Led Activities with Disabled ChildrenMy Profile

  7. Paul says:

    Thank you for writing all these brilliant posts, we have just finished the Home Study and are now in the waiting game, we are due at panel in July.
    I didn’t realise there were blogs like this around, and so informative too.

    Keep up the good work.

  8. Thank you very much for your kind words. It is greatly appreciated. I hope the Home Study was bearable, and good luck – if you need any advice, don’t be afraid to try me. Thanks for the comment.
    Andrew McDougall recently posted..Adoptive parenting 101: Stick to a routineMy Profile

  9. Kim says:


    This is the best blog i have found. We have been matched to a gorgeous baby and are just waiting for the introductions to start so as you can imagine we are trying to get as many things organised as we can, but finding a place to start was tough. This blog is reasuring and informative and i feel more empowered for reading it. THANK YOU

  10. Kelly says:

    I have just come across your website and thought there were some great tips on welcoming an adoptive child into your house. We go to panel this Friday and are both nervous and excited, if thats possible! Thanks :)

  11. Anna says:

    Your blog is fab and giving me some really useful ideas but more importantly reassurance and that my emotions/thought process are normal. Thank you so much
    Anna recently posted..The boy’s first camping tripMy Profile

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