This post originated from AdoptUSKids.
A team of AdoptUSKids foster care and adoption specialists respond to questions from parents and professionals every day. Below is one question families ask us.
Q: We’ve been matched with a 13-year-old boy who will be moving into our home before the end of the year. Do you have advice about the best ways we can smooth the transition?
A: This is a question that every adoptive parent grapples with. Communication is key, and with that in mind we offer a list of resources below about talking with children. But often the best source of information is other families. So we asked members of our Facebook community to share their advice about supporting children during the transition to a new home. Here are a few of the ideas they posted:
- Make it their home. “Had a wood sign made to put on the door that said XXXXX’s Room.” “Let our 13-year-old daughter pick out her bedroom and bathroom décor.” “Put pictures of them up on the walls.”
- Facilitate communication with other family members. “Programmed the numbers of the foster parents from the last placement into our cell phone so he knew just because we wanted to adopt him did not mean he couldn’t still have those people he cared about in his life.”
- Plan engaging family activities. “For us movie nights helped them relax and game nights helped them interact with us in a comfortable, no pressure way.”
- Create continuity. “Found out his favorite meal/dessert/snacks and had the house stocked with those things.” “Took them a fuzzy teddy bear on a visit to sleep with which then moved with them.”
Read more about the importance of continuity in “Foster Care Transitions,” an article on the Center for Adoption Medicine’s website.
Recommended resources for talking with teens.
To learn about talking with children and teens about adoption, we suggest the following publications:
- “Talking with Your Adopted Teen: It’s Possible and Important.” Features five principles for effective parent communication with teens. Number four: share all available information.
- Positive Adoption Conversations: An Adoptive Families Guide (2.4 MB PDF). A comprehensive publication addressing topics including “telling the tough stuff.”
- Helping Your Foster Child Transition to Your Adopted Child (531 KB PDF). A fact sheet that covers topics including helping children understand their histories and losses and transfer attachments.
Find more valuable resources from AdoptUSKids