Do you know this?

There are approximately 18000 parents registered with CARA, while the number of children in the Government's adoption pool is less 1800.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Bringing the child home

You had been anxiously waiting for this day to arrive when you will as parents bring your baby to her new home. And when this moment arrives, it becomes a very special and emotional moment in your life. In this post, I'll try to share our experience of the so-called post adoption blues (and reds). There can be many scenarios wherein:

  • Parents are meeting the child for the first time to take her back (usually happens in Inter Country adoption)
  • Parents might have met the child for few occasions at the orphanage (happens in adoption from places other than place of residence)
  • Parents who have had enough time for bonding with the child before taking her home (usually the most common of same city adoption)
We belonged to the third category wherein we got enough time to bond with the child before her homecoming. This no doubt helps quite a lot later on wherein the child learns to be comfortable in your presence, your sound, your touch, even your smell. We as adults often underestimate children when it comes to what do they understand or feel. Kids at young age usually try to explore their world with all their senses but the most important among adoptive kids is the sense of touch. During the bonding sessions, you should touch the baby as much as possible in the form of caress, hugs, kisses etc. I feel babies feel secured when hugged.

It would be a good idea to get the child used to a new cloth or/and toy which you can buy (if your orphanage allows the same). Most of them won't mind. This helps quite a lot when the child comes home along with the cloth or toy. Like all humans, kids also take time to adjust to their new home, new faces and it helps to have something near to the kid which she was used to earlier. Although it might seem trivial, it would be a good idea to get the baby have a ride in the car earlier. The idea is to make the baby as comfortable as possible with her surroundings. In our case, our daughter fell asleep during the ride back home.

I would never forget the drive to the orphanage on our baby's homecoming day as it was filled with excitement, happiness, tension, apprehensions and all kind of feelings. We don't have a bio kid but i feel it would be the same kind of feeling that a parent feels when their child is born.

If possible, make sure the paperwork is completed beforehand as you would not want to waste your time in doing the same on that very day. Generally you would need to sign the foster care agreement and get hold of the baby's feeding schedules and medical reports (immunization charts etc.).

Once your child is home, its recommended that no visitors at home are allowed for 2-3 weeks and its should be a strictly bonding time between parents and baby. It would be worthwhile to speak to your immediate neighbours and friends about this fact. In our case, we didn't allow our parents to visit us immediately. This helps a lot in family bonding. It helps to stick to the same feeding schedule and food as well for few days but there's no harm in trying new things. Its just that any change in feeding schedule should be gradual and not sudden.

For the first few weeks, our baby didn't even show any bonding with me (her dad) as she was with her mother. This is natural as there are very few male caregivers in Indian orphanages hence babies have very less interaction with the male species as compared to the female ones. It would be a good idea to get into bonding sessions with your baby especially if you are the dad with the activities like changing diapers, bath times, feeding sessions, play times, story telling times etc. In fact music acts as a good therapy and small children are very appreciative of music.
Whatever i have heard of so far, its easier with infants to deal with post adoption blues as compared to older kids (more then 2 years of age). While i don't have any experience with older kids, but it seems parents suggest that the key is to spend as much time as possible with the child as possible. Once the child starts to feel comfortable, things automatically start falling into place. Also as parents, always be prepared for the worst and unexpected especially with older kids.

It would be interesting to hear about other parents' experiences of bringing their child to home and how they prepared for it.

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