Adoption is a long, emotionally exhausting process that can cause parents to feel overwhelmed in the first few weeks at home with a new child. According to the U.S. Department of State, there have been a total of 242,602 adoptions between the year 1999 and 2012. As more parents invite adopted children into their families, there comes a greater need for resources to make this transition as smooth and positive as possible.
Build a Safe Environment
There’s a fine line between promoting safety and being overbearing. Especially with young children, parents might be overprotective. Relieve some of your own responsibilities is by installing a home security system like Lifeshield, which offers “smart” security by linking up your system with your digital devices. For younger children, consider hiring a baby-proofing specialist; one can be found at BabySafeHomes.com.
Informing Biological Children
Some adoptive families already have biological children who might need a little more attention after their new brother or sister arrive. Some parents withhold talking about the adoption until the process is close to complete, but Joan Regan, a social worker with Holt International Children’s Services, warns that this may cause children to become even more anxious about the whole situation. Most families don’t typically get rejected after the home study interview, so it’s often OK to let biological children in on your plans in the early stages of the adoption.
The initial costs of an adoption depends on a number of factors, such as whether or not it’s international, from a private agency, carried out independently and so on. The National Endowment for Financial Education (NEFE) offers an informative booklet called “How to Make Adoption an Affordable Option” that comes with tons of information about financial assistance programs, benefits and tax breaks for adoptions of all kinds. For example, the federal adoption tax credit is $5,000 per child according to the IRS, regardless of whether the adoption was domestic or international. Parents who have adopted a U.S. child with special needs may even qualify for a $6,000 tax credit.
Develop a Network
For you and your new addition, it helps to have a strong support network of other people who have similar backgrounds and struggles. Local support groups are a great place to start; find them with a specialized search engine at AdoptiveFamilies.com. Some groups may even offer specific focuses, such as adoption for single or LGBT parents or adoption of children from a certain country. Seek out social workers and psychologists in your area that specialize in adoption and helping adopted children adjust to their new environment. The American Psychological Association also offers an excellent digital library of articles and books from professionals on the subject.