Are you considering adoption? If you’re ready to take the next steps in growing your family, the first thing to do is to prepare your home. The amount of preparation that needs to be done can quickly become overwhelming to new adoptive parents. The most important thing to consider is the home environment itself. While the needs of your child will vary, here are five tips to help you get started in preparing your home for adoption.
1. Determine if You Need to Upsize
As an adoptive parent you’ll need to consider the financial implications of adopting a child; not the least of which is the possibility of upgrading your home. If you’re adopting multiple children or a child with special needs, you may need more space to accommodate them. This is a decision that you’ll want to factor into the overall costs of your adoption budget. Understanding things like your income, credit history, etc. will help you determine how much house you can afford. Purchasing a new home is a process in and of itself, so you’ll need to prepare possibly months in advance for this move. Once this is done, you can rest easy knowing that you have a space that is large enough for the new children you are bringing into your home.
2. Prepare for the Home Study
For many new parents, home study can be an intimidating part of the adoption process. Especially the home visit portion of the home study process. The thought of a social worker coming into your home to determine if it’s a good fit for the child can make some feel as if they need to pass a test. It’s important to remember that the purpose of the home study is to ensure that the environment will be healthy and safe for the child. With that said, there are a few things that you’ll need to do in preparation for this.
- Check for and make necessary repairs: This includes electrical repairs, fencing in front or backyard, stairs, plumbing, and windows. Anything that could cause a safety hazard in the future should be repaired as soon as possible.
- Gather necessary documentation: It’s best that you gather the documents you need prior to the home study. This includes but is not limited to birth certificates, social security cards, proof of insurance for your health, life, auto, employment verification, and a driver’s license or state-issued ID to name a few. We at Adoption & Beyond can help you sort through the documents and help you prepare through our on-line home study portal.
- Be ready for questions: Your social worker is not going to drill you with questions but it’s still a good idea to be ready to address certain topics. You may need to discuss your parenting styles, why you want to adopt, your plans for the child and general life questions regarding your childhood, marriage (if applicable) and family relations.
3. Optimize Storage Space
Similar to upsizing your home to accommodate your expanding family, storage is something you may also want to take into consideration. Between new toys, sports equipment, school supplies, clothes and other items, storage can quickly become an issue. Look into wall racks and shelving, bunk beds, different types of bins, and other space savers.
If your budget allows, build custom closets and other built-ins into the space according to the needs of the child prior to welcoming them in.
You could also utilize dual and multiple purpose furniture to hide things in both bedroom and living spaces. Regular decluttering activities with your child, especially as they get older, will help you optimize storage space and teach them how to be responsible with organization and cleaning skills.
4. Create A Safe Environment
A safe environment is important for a child of any age. But special attention should be given to younger children and children with special needs. Your social worker will want to be able to glance around the house and immediately see that you’ve taken steps to ensure the safety of your child. However, before you bring the child home, there are some safety updates you should make.
- In the kitchen: use safety locks on ovens, refrigerators and cabinets (as your child gets older and mobile). Keep a fire extinguisher handy. Store sharp objects like knives and scissors out of reach.
- In the bathroom: install locks on the toilet lids (once your child is mobile). Keep cleaning products and medicine out of reach or locked away. Use non-skid mats on the floor to prevent slips and falls.
- In living and sleeping spaces: keep furniture away from windows. Use straps and other anti-tipping devices to prevent heavy furniture and other items from falling over. If you have a flat screen TV, consider mounting it on the wall. Use electrical outlet covers (once your child is mobile).
5. Cater To The Interests Of The Child
Creating a welcoming environment in your home is crucial. The child, no matter what age, will need to be assured and reassured of the permanence of his or her adoption and will need to have a sense of belonging. This may include hanging up pictures of them, and if they’re school age or older, things like report cards, arts and crafts, trophies etc. Find out what their hobbies or interests are and incorporate them into the bedroom, living room, bathroom or other spaces that the child will frequent or where family items are displayed.
Your home is the center of life for you and your adopted child. Making sure that it’s an environment where your child can thrive is an important part of the adoption process. These five tips offer a good starting point for getting your home ready for your new addition and will set a foundation for the new changes that will come for your family in the future.
This blog post is provided for educational and informational purposes only. Our services are not financial, business or legal advice. The information presented here is not a guarantee that you will obtain any results or earn any money using our content. Adoption & Beyond, Inc. owns all copyrights to the materials presented here unless otherwise noted.