Now that you’ve lined up the adoption, told your friends and family and prepared yourself to introduce a new person into your life, you’ll undoubtedly realize the list of things to do is lengthy, yet not overwhelming. To help you get started, we’ve got a good guideline of things you should know and think of while waiting for your new son or daughter.
What’s in a Name? A lot, obviously.
Couples who are adopting infants and toddlers spend a lot of time thinking of names. If you do not know if your child will be a boy or girl, it is wise to choose a name for each gender. Also, it’s important to think about issues that arise when changing the name of a child:
- If the child is 2 or older, their name is part of their identity. Many experts recommend the name not be changed. If, however, adopters decide to make a change, many opt to move the child’s first name to their middle, and give them a new first name. For example, if a child’s birth name is Kelly, the adoptive parents may decide to give her a new first name, such as Marie, and move Kelly to her second name.
- If the child has been abused, some parents may wish to wipe off all the pain of the past and give the child a “new chapter of his or her life life” by giving them a completely new name. It is still important to remember that the child may come to your family with nothing but his/her name, which is part of his/her identity. If the child is old enough, consider asking them to voice their opinion on a new name.
Getting your child’s room ready should be on top of the priority list, to ensure they receive a warm welcome upon arrival. Getting ready for your child could be as simple as a new bed spread, or include painting walls or even adding onto your home. Your child’s room should be clean, safe and welcoming. And if you’re expecting an infant or toddler, make sure you childproof (i.e., wall socket covers, removing dangerous objects, etc.)
Get Health Insurance
It’s imperative you obtain health insurance. Federal laws require most companies that offer insurance to provide insurance to adoptive children. Be sure to enroll your child on your insurance within 30 days of placement of your home. Or, if your adoption is international, within 30 days of the adoption. You do not have to wait until you finalize the adoption.
Take Some Time Off
You will need to decide if you or your partner will take time off with the child once he or she arrives. And how long you will take to acclimate both yourself and the child to a new life together. The federal Family and Medical Leave Act requires employers of more than 50 people to allow workers to take off up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave for the birth or adoption of a child. It’s up to you whether you take the full 12 weeks, or if you decide on fewer, if the child is older.
When the child arrives, though, try to spend a few weeks together, so that you can get to know each other and adapt to the transition as best as you can.