You spend months or years planning for this child. The paperwork and waiting is finally over. Your child is home! But reality of all this will rear its ugly head when day to day parenting takes over. Your child refuses to sleep. They misbehave in public. He has frequent temper tantrums. Suddenly the responsibility of taking care of this new child seems overwhelming.
What are some steps you can take to help you cope?
1) Talk with your adoption agency or social worker. Many of them have heard similar stories and this will help you to see that you are not alone with this issue. Sometimes they can help monitor your progress with your child. You are probably too close to the issue to see the progress others might see. How things were at two weeks vs. two months may need to be pointed out to you.
2) Talk with other adoptive parents. These people have walked the same path as you. Get to know them. Share your stories. It is hard to complain about your child's behavior to a friend or family because in their minds they will tell you, "You asked for this...You are the one that wanted to adopt." All children go through behavioral stages and whether or not they were adopted is not always the issue. It is just that some people think that adopted children should act better because they are grateful to be adopted. This is just crazy because kids are kids! It doesn't matter where they started from. So having an adoptive parent as a friend is very worthwhile for your sanity.
3) Let it go! Children teach us a lot about slowing down. How many times a day do you say, "Hurry up!"? Try to focus on the important tasks or chores that need to be done each day. Don't let all the little things drive you crazy. Try to take time for reading a book or going for a walk with your child. In the end, these things tend to be more important for both of you.
4) For the first few months you and your child need to get used to a simple daily schedule. If your child used to live in an orphanage his day was very regimented. He ate, slept, and played at the same times every day. It is very overstimulating to a child like this to do something different every day with very few routines. A simple routine will help the child to learn what comes next and help him prepare for activities.
I found my son was very naughty if our day did not have a schedule of events he could look forward to. Adding a child to your family is a HUGE event in anyone's life. Try to take it one day at a time with your child. Make sure your time with him is happy and don't stress out about the little things. Soon your child will not be confused with who his family is and life will settle down into a comfortable routine.
Deborah Mumm is a parent to 5 children, 2 of which were adopted from Russia. She is an Adoption Coach who gives talks on the plight of orphans. She runs a local Adoptive Parent Support group and one online. For more information on how you can make a difference to the life of an orphaned child, you can claim a FREE report at http://www.adoptionhighway.com.