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Adoption Etiquette: Preparing For An Alternate Route To Parenthood

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By Mia Bolaris-Forget

When most couples think of starting a family they most likely think “traditionally’, starting a family. Still, for some, the process may be a bit more “contemporary” than conventional. And, yes, we’re talking about adoption.

According to experts brining a child into your home, no matter which way you do it, is an exciting, invigorating and life-changing experience. And, just like traditional “pregnancy” it means being ready and getting ready for the lifelong commitment. And, that mean brushing up on some fundamental basics

· Enroll in a class: A “baby basics” class, that is. Experts assert that most “expectant” moms are taught or learn about baby care, feeding, and basic development of their infant/child in their childbirth class or at classes geared toward pregnant parents. Today however, your options are increased with many hospitals, adoption agencies and support groups offering infant and child-care classes, as well as parenting classes for adoptive moms and dads. You’re best bet is asking other adoptive parents or contacting local agencies or parent-support groups for additional information.

· Breastfeeding Alternatives: Believe it or not, some adoptive moms are able to coerce their bossom to produce breast milk (for baby) via stimulation, taking hormones (such as prolctin and oxtocin, or using other natural methods). But, not every adoptive mom will experience the same results, have or want this option. In fact, even those who do breast feed will need to supplement nutrients with formula, since it’s not likely their breasts will produce enough milk to meet their baby’s needs. So, if you’re considering breastfeeding, do your homework BEFORE you baby arrives and/or consult a lactation consultant at a local and reputable hospital or a rep from La Leche League for more thorough and detailed information.

· Hosting your shower: Most standard showers take place before baby arrives, but when it comes to adoption many moms and dads prefer to wait until they have their baby securely in their home and in their arms. And, for many parents, especially those adopting an “older” child, hosting a welcome home party in lieu of a shower is likely a better idea, as is waiting to meet your child and finding out more about his or her personality, likes, and needs.

· Making your BIG announcement: Since you won’t be sending out conventional birth announcements, you’ll have to come up with a creative way for breaking the news to friends and family. Some new parents opt for letting others know personally while still in the adoption process while others sent out handwritten cards or notes highlighting some of the details of their child’s adoption, while still others opt for fanciful adoption announcements personalizing the facts about their child and their family. All options are a great way to break your big new, just make sure to add a photo of your latest family addition.

· Making amendments to your baby book: Unless you’re adopting an infant, the records you keep of you and your family may not begin at your baby’s birth. In fact, their may be little if any documentation of your baby’s life before he or she become a member of your home. Also, especially if you’re considering “open adoption” you book may feature photos of your baby’s birth mom and/or family. And, you may also find yourself documenting places and events important to your child’s life before he or she met you.

· Incorporating special celebrations: You may opt to not only celebrate you child’s birthday but also the day he or she became a member of your family. Most parents refer to this day as “Adoption Day”, “Family Day”, or “Gotcha Day”. Some make it a private celebration “just for the immediate family” while others get together with other adoptive parents and host a special and commemorative celebration or getaway. Still others, especially those who may opt for closed adoption or who may not want to tell their child about his or her adoption my chose to forego this otherwise special celebration.

· Be prepared for lots of personal questions: Parents who add to their family “traditionally” often get “interrogated” right after the wedding and up to the point of conception and birth. You on the other hand may find you’ll get lots of questions AFTER the arrival of your “little one”. In fact, while well-intentioned, some may seem too “rude” or personal. Be prepared to be polite but opt out of answering if you don’t want to. In other instances you’ll have to learn how to answer the question “informatively” but without being precise or specific about uncomfortable details.

· Accepting and embracing your new role: Much like “biological” parents, having a family takes a lot of getting use to. But, experts suggest that there WILL come a time without their child, when they ARE a family, and when all the trials and tribulations of becoming a parent are a fading memory.

Long Island Adoption Articles > Adoption Etiquette: Preparing For An Alternate Route To Parenthood

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