If you have recently adopted or are planning to adopt a child ahead of the holiday season, there are a few things you can do to handle your first holidays with a new addition to the family.
If it’s been only a few months or weeks since the adoption, it’s vital to form a bond between the parents and the adopted children, our adoption attorneys at Ault Legal advise.
Spending a holiday season with someone who doesn’t fully trust you or loves you yet may feel a little awkward. That’s why establishing an attachment between children and their adoptive parents.
Understanding how adopted children think
Here’s the tricky thing about attachments and bonds: regardless of age, children from foster care and institutions have most likely never formed a bond with anyone before: neither with their biological parents nor caregivers in foster care.
That’s because children in foster care have most likely been exposed to chaotic – and, in some cases, even abusive – upbringings, multiple placements and failed adoptions.
So forming an attachment with adopted children may take some time, but it’s vital to make them feel safe and loved during the holidays. Don’t except an adopted child to trust you entirely the second they get a Christmas gift from you.
Instead of simply giving a toy or an iPad, use the holiday season more wisely to gain the child’s trust, love and make them feel at home and comfortable.
Tips how to handle the first holiday season with adopted children
If you adopted a children from foster home or institution, it’s vital to understand that the vast majority of them are used to routines and strict bedtime rituals.
By failing to provide your adopted child with a routine, you risk disrupting his/her upbringing and making things more chaotic for yourself this holiday season. Having bedtime rituals or teaching them certain behaviors around the house (cleaning in their room, eating only healthy foods) is vital to form a bond with adopted kids.
Give them privacy. If you’re adopting a child from foster care, do know that having privacy is a luxury that almost no child in foster homes has.
By allowing your adopted child to have their own space and privacy – especially if you’re adopting a teen or an older child – you establish trust and allow them to feel more comfortable in your home. And, as you may know, feeling comfortable and trusted is the precursor of any joyful family holiday.
Play with your children. No matter how old your adopted child is, play with them. Even if you’re adopting a teenager, playing is a tried-and-true way to establish a bond with kids.
Play sports (football, basketball or other contact sports in the backyard), board or card games to establish a connection and build the child’s social skills. Our adoption attorneys at Ault Legal remind adoptive parents that – like having privacy – playtime is something every child in foster home lacks.
In fact, there are lots of Christmas-themed fun games to play with your kids. Google those and find out what kind of games your child would like to play in between cooking food and decorating the house together.
Family photos… lots of them! Taking a family photo during the holidays sends your adopted child the right signal: you’re loving your first holiday season with them and you certainly want to spend holidays with them for decades to come!
And this is exactly how you want to form a bond and let your children know that they are part of your expanding family now.
Do activities together. Find out what your adopted child’s interests and hobbies are, and teach them the things that you love doing (be it cooking, playing football, chess or gardening).
Although bonding with adopted children may take some time, it’s critical to stay on track and make your child feel at home during the holidays.
If you’re planning to adopt a child this holiday season, consult our Salt Lake City adoption attorneys at Ault Legal to find out about your rights and responsibilities as an adoptive parent – and start the process of adoption.