If you’re in the process of adopting or waiting for your new child to actually come home, preparing your home for a new family member should be a top priority. Every new parent is in for the challenge, but bringing an older child or teenage adoptee into a space that truly feels like their own will help to begin building trust and set the foundation of your relationship. In order to best assimilate an adopted child to a new space and account for their growth over the coming years, you should take a look at how you can improve your home.
FIX SAFETY HAZARDS
During the adoption process, social workers from adoption agencies will need to conduct a home study to make sure you meet all the necessary standards that make for a stable lifestyle and safe home. If you haven’t passed this step yet, preparing all the documents needed and ensuring your home is fully inspected and safe is a great way to pass with flying colors. This process typically takes three to six months to complete, so getting your home in tip-top shape ahead of time is a smart move. The first thing you can do is research your state’s regulations and then ask your specific adoption specialist for a checklist of their unique approach.
Start by making sure your safety equipment like smoke alarms or carbon monoxide detectors are in working order. Have a fire plan in place and ensure there are fire extinguishers at the ready in case of an emergency. If you have guns in your home, it’s extremely important to make sure they’re properly locked away and out of reach. According to Healthy Children, there were 2,070 unintentional shootings caused by children and teens that got ahold of firearms between 2015 and 2020, which led to 765 deaths and 1,366 nonfatal gun injuries. These issues will not be taken lightly by any social worker coming into your home as they’re looking to find the safest and most secure home for these children and teens.
If you need to tackle major renovations for your home in order to create a safer environment or expand your family, consider tapping into your home’s equity and using a line of credit to free up some funds. You should never be stressed with the environment you live in, and making sure you create a comfortable home to raise your new child in should be a huge priority before you set the adoption process in motion.
CLEAN AND ORGANIZE
Keeping your house clean and organized will surely make a good impression for your home study and alleviate some stress when you bring your adoptee home. Doing a thorough cleaning of the house, yard, and cars can be a great place to kick everything off. Curb appeal and good landscaping can make a great impression but making sure your backyard is organized with garden tools and lawn equipment safely stored away is the first step.
Inside, make it a routine to put things back in their designated spaces and stick to a regular cleaning schedule. Reserve some cabinet space for snacks and quick meals, as teenagers and older children grow very quickly and may have a hearty appetite. You may also want to start meal prepping if you’re about to begin juggling work with your kid’s schedules and after-school activities.
A tidy kitchen and common space is a great way to instill cleaning, organizational skills, and habits into your adoptee as well! If you’re tasked with assembling your new child or teen’s room, make sure to include some bins and shelving in the closet space to stay neat and a desk to keep things organized for school or creative ventures.
GIVE THEM A SPACE OF THEIR OWN
In order to create a space that feels inviting and homey, you may want to start shopping for some basic furniture, games, and decor. Once you get to know your new child or teen, you can begin to purchase more things and personalize their room according to their interests. Make sure you don’t go overboard before discovering where their true passions are. For example, you don’t want to go crazy decking a room out in sports decor only to find out that your new child is a big artist instead! If you have other kids, biological or adopted, make sure that your newly adopted child feels equally as important when you’re welcoming them in. Whether your adopted child is sharing a bedroom with another child, or has a room to themselves, making sure there is an area that they can call their own is important in maximizing their comfort.
Every child needs private time and space to hang out with friends, read, learn, etc., in order to grow and become independent. Crafting a safe space will mean they feel comfortable emoting in a healthy way here, whether it’s the spot they go to let out anger or happily explore their interests. Making sure you give them their own space and the freedom to be independent is one of the strongest ways to build trust between a parent and their child. This is incredibly important as you move forward, given the child may have some walls up or emotionally charged pasts that they’re still dealing with. Many older children that are up for adoption deal with grief and loss, or trauma from what came before you, so helping them cope with this, developing trust, and supporting them through these challenges is key. With these preparations in mind, you’ll be well on your way to acing a home study and assembling the perfect home for your new child!
CREATE AN ENVIRONMENT OF INCLUSIVITY
Aside from preparing the physical aspects of your home, you want to make sure that your adopted child is welcomed with an air of positivity and inclusivity. You’ll be taking on a child with their own unique background, culture, and myriad of experiences. If you have other children in your home, this is a worthwhile discussion to have with them before the new adoptee arrives. Make sure that you also talk about how you’ll raise your new child with your spouse and the efforts you’ll take to maintain their identity and continue connecting them with their culture. This is especially important if you don’t share the same ethnicity or race. Creating an environment that fosters open-mindedness, acceptance, honesty, and communication will start your relationship off on the right foot and truly craft a loving home for your new child.
THE CHILDREN’S HOME SOCIETY OF VIRGINIA | SUPPORT VIRGINIA ADOPTION
CHS is passionate about finding permanent, loving homes for at-risk youth. We believe that every child deserves a home.
For 122 years, we have been committed to serving children and families in the commonwealth. Our specially-designed programs transform our community by creating and supporting families in which children are able to thrive.
If you are interested in adopting, we will be with you every step of the way! Learn more about our adoption process here, and when you’re ready, click the button below!