Bringing Daniel Home: A Letter of Encouragement
Congratulations on being matched with your wee boy!
We were matched with ours 3 years ago and the adoption went through shortly afterwards. Our son, Daniel, was 18 months old at the time.
I remember it being such an exciting time but also feeling very aware of this new and very important responsibility in being parents.
I hope this is useful. I have just noted a few points we thought helped at the time and on reflection it was advice we received at the time that was good.
We wrote down all of our son’s routine. I put Daniel to bed during the introduction period to make sure we understood the routine and he had experienced me putting him to bed.
When Daniel came home with us, my husband would play a game with him then I would do the bedtime routine (bottle, holding him on my lap / pjs) as I did during introductions. We did not deviate from this at all for about 6 months.
We took home his bedding, teddies, all his clothes, toys and bath toys.
We took home his cups, dummies – all familiar items.
We bought the exact same foods and drinks – same make etc.
We also, within the routine from his foster carers, (meal times, TV programmes, sleep and day time nap routine) developed a daily routine that Daniel enjoyed. I would take him to the park for a short time each day (either the park in the village or the park at the shops). Although his foster carers had not done this every day it was something Daniel really enjoyed.
Gradually we developed his routine with us – including things he likes and before you know it you have wee treats and games which belong to you as a family.
I found the same with his diet – just very gradually introducing new things without taking any familiar things away. Then after probably 9 – 12 months, I very gradually gave him the foods / juices etc that I wasn’t too keen on less often.
e.g. Fruit Shoots – now Daniel doesn’t like them!
Each day my husband David and I both set aside time to play with Daniel: with his toys / singing songs / bouncing on the sofa holding his hands. We interspersed the day with 1:1 time to play or read or go out in the garden with him.
Meeting family and friends –
We did this very gradually and initially for shorts visits. I am very close to my mum and dad, sisters and brother. So I found that quite hard. I suppose you also have to see how this is going and trust your instincts.
Daniel very quickly took to my parents and his cousins. I did not let family etc do any of his care tasks. I found people instinctively want to feed children, get them a drink etc. But I just explained that I hadn’t had that intense baby time and meeting his care needs was extremely important.
We found a lot of people wanted to buy Daniel a gift when we brought him home. It’s very understandable and I don’t think the adoption team were against this. However, we decided to ask people not to do this initially and if they wanted to treat him with a small gift when they got to know him that would be fine. I know this was a very personal choice for us and really I am just saying it as a pointer to consider.
Again this is so personal and dependent on your child. We felt Daniel was very young so I am sure it was after 9 months before we went out. Then we just went to a restaurant in the village and one of us would nip back if he woke. Just seeing one of us was enough for him to go back to sleep.
A friend told me with toddlers to try to avoid a stand off. I found her advice of agreeing with your child to start again rather than insist on them saying sorry very helpful – because the “ I am sorry” follows on and they feel accepted.
I hope this is helpful. It is probably just what you have been told in the adoption training. But if there is anything you want to ask please feel free. The best thing I can say in our experience is – I think you will find your child attaches very quickly and the joy he / she brings is immense.
Best wishes for the next few months. Feel free to email if there is anything at all you want to chat about.