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When the Baby You're Bringing Home Isn't a Baby

One of the challenges of adopting a toddler or an older child as opposed to a baby is that there are fewer resources available regarding what you should expect than there are for typical parenting situations. There’s no “What to Expect the First Year” for your older child, and even the books available about older child adoption give lots of information about what to expect of your child, but not many pointers about what to do for yourself as you adjust. I found that there were some very basic things that friends imparted to me when we brought Zinashi home that made a world of difference in my outlook and expectations.

 

 


  • You’re a New Mom, So Act Like It! 1 of 5
    You're a New Mom, So Act Like It!
    Becoming a parent for the first time or adding to your family is a big adjustment; just because you aren't healing physically from giving birth doesn't mean that you don't need time to relax and allow yourself time to process your new reality. Adopting an older child often means that you don't get some of the breaks that moms of babies get since your child sleeps less. You are a new mom, and you need to do many of the things that all new moms do to manage their changed lives. Photo credit: morgueFile
  • Your Hormones May Be Out of Whack 2 of 5
    Your Hormones May Be Out of Whack
    Birth isn't the only thing that affects your hormones. The stress of completing an adoption process and helping your new child adjust to life in your family can also wreak havoc on your hormones. Post Adoption Depression is real, and if you feel like you are having trouble coping, make sure you get help. You may have the equivalent of "baby blues" and just need someone to talk to, or you might need a little more help from your doctor.
  • Sleepless Nights Aren’t Just for Parents of Newborns 3 of 5
    Sleepless Nights Aren't Just for Parents of Newborns
    When older children are adjusting and grieving, they often have trouble sleeping at night. This means that you won't get to sleep at night, either. Add in jet lag, and it's the perfect storm. If you fall asleep sitting up in the middle of the day, that's normal. If you're lucky, your child will fall asleep sitting up at the same time.
  • Don’t Be Afraid to Accept or Ask for New Mom Help 4 of 5
    Don't Be Afraid to Accept or Ask for New Mom Help
    It is common in our culture to have help with basic household tasks after a baby is born. Most adoptive moms I know went through a period of being unable to do anything but attend to their new child's needs. If someone offers to help clean, cook, do laundry, or run errands, take them up on it! If no one offers, ask a friend or family member you trust for help.
    Photo credit: morgueFile
  • Bringing Home an Older Child is Just as Amazing as Building Your Family Another Way 5 of 5
    Bringing Home an Older Child is Just as Amazing as Building Your Family Another Way
    You are entitled to get excited. Your road to parenthood may look a lot different from those who give birth or bring home babies, but you will experience the same kind of family joy. Embrace it and savor it. You have created a family, and that is a beautiful thing.

Read more of our family story on Finding Magnolia
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