Bringing home your adopted child is a happy event, but it’s also a time when you want to be prepared. That way, your adoption home study will go well, and you’ll also make your child feel welcome.
If you’re adopting an infant or a toddler, the first step is baby-proofing your home. Lock up cleaning supplies and anything else that’s toxic. Block off stairs and lock the bathroom doors from the outside. Put safety caps in all the outlets and secure heavy appliances like the TV, so they won’t fall over.
You may also have to do some of this for an older child of four or five. If the child has lived in an orphanage, he may have never seen outlets or appliances. But he’ll still want to explore, and may not understand these things can be dangerous.
Make sure your whole home provides a safe environment, inside and out. You should have working smoke detectors, fire extinguishers, and a lock box for firearms. You should not have fire hazards, such as oily rags, stored in your home. If you have a pool, it should be safely fenced off.
Be sure to make your home seem comfortable and welcoming to your child. Have a crib or age-appropriate bed, sheets and warm blankets, some child-size furniture, and some toys that he’ll enjoy. Your home study social worker won’t mind a little clutter in your house. But she’ll want to make sure your home is child-friendly, and your child will have a cozy space of his own.
Don’t go overboard with decorating, though. Too many bright colors or toys in his room might be overwhelming, especially if you’re adopting an older child. Your child might be used to very sparse surroundings. Decorate with soft, warm colors and set out a few attractive toys.
Another thing to consider is that your older child might have slept in a room with lots of other children all his life. He may have trouble sleeping alone at first. You might move a day bed into his room and sleep in the room with him, until he gets used to his new home.
Even babies need time to adjust to new surroundings. But with some preparation, your child will soon settle in, and you’ll all have the joy of being a family.