Getting ready for parenthood involves planning, preparation and learning. Planning ahead can make the transition to becoming a parent easier. While that is true, people also say that nothing can prepare you for the job of parenting. Parenthood is the epitome of on-the-job training.
So what is a new parent to do? You can prepare by reading the countless books and websites offering sound advice on what to do before and after your child arrives. You can also resolve to do the best you can with the advance knowledge you’ve gained.
But what if you are adopting? Adoptive parents may prepare for parenthood differently than biological parents, even though they are likely going to experience similar situations once their child is home. The basic needs for a safe and loving home are the same for every child. Here are some things you can do to ready yourself for your new family member.
Share the good news
Telling family and friends about your exciting news will hopefully spur you into action. Think about how you’d feel about registering for necessary items and/or having someone host a shower for you. People will want to celebrate your upcoming role as parent, and friends and family members may be eager to host an adoption shower to help you prepare.
Consider parenting classes
Most hospitals and community centers offer newborn and infant care classes. No matter your expertise level, a refresher course is always helpful. There may be classes specifically geared toward adoptive families, whether it be an actual care class or one addressing child development, attachment and bonding. Your adoption agency may have a list of such classes.
Build your library
While it is beneficial to add general parenting books and a medical manual to your home library, take time to search for books about adoptive parenting. Some recommendations are Raising Adopted Children by Lois Ruskai Melina and Keys to Parenting an Adopted Child by Kathy Lancaster.
Communicate, communicate, communicate
This is the time to discuss parenting styles and discipline with your spouse or partner. This is also the time to talk to family and friends about adoption, and answer questions they may have about the process. Also let them know what you plan to discuss with your child about their adoption as they get older. Make sure everyone is on the same page.
Take care of yourself
Becoming a parent is one of the most stressful events a person can experience. Give yourself time to adjust to your new job. Make time for your spouse or partner, as well as yourself. Relax. Do what makes you happy now, because your child will make you happier than you ever thought you could be.