Raising a Happy and Healthy Family

Tips for Getting a Room Ready for an Older Adopted Child

After months, if not years, of waiting and preparation, it's almost time to bring your newly adopted child home and welcome him or her into the family. There are still a few things you need to do before the big day, though, especially if you are adopting an older child. Preparing a new room will not only help the child feel more welcome, it can also help him or her settle into your home more quickly.

Plan for Equal Treatment

If you already have children in the home, whether adopted or biological, you should aim for the bedroom situation to be equal for all the children. This means that everyone has shared rooms or everyone has his or her own room. This way the new child will feel welcomed as a member of equal standing within the family.

Know Your Child's Limitations

Chances are you have a full medical and psychological history of the child you are adopting if you are working with a licensed adoption agency. Check this for any developmental delays in your child, whether emotional, behavioral, or intellectual. When you are setting up the room for safety, keep these delays in mind and arrange the room to the developmental age and not to the physical age of the child.

For example, you may need to anchor dressers or use outlet covers in the room of an 8-year-old that is intellectually at the level of a 4-year-old.

Hold Off on Major Decor Choices

Unless you are bringing home a very young toddler, you should wait until the child is home with you before making major design decisions. In other words, let the child pick out sheets, comforters, and room decorations. Chances are the child has had very few choices in his or her surroundings until now, so giving the child this ability will help him or her feel more at home and like a member of the family.

Add a Few Personal Touches

Although you want to leave some of the major decisions for later, it is nice to add one or two touches that show you know a bit about the child. Take the clues from your pre-adoption conversations with the child or from his or her file with the adoption agency. For example, you may want to go ahead and paint the walls in the child's favorite color or provide a poster for a favorite band. These simple overtures can help the child see that you really care and are willing to pay attention to him or her.

Don't Overdo It

Most older children coming into your home via adoption only want to feel loved and safe. You don't need to provide them with the biggest room, fancy in-room entertainment centers, or expensive toys. Instead, take the time to set aside a permanent space for him or her before arrival. This way the child will know that he or she now belongs in both your home and in your heart.

For more advice or to look into adopting a child, consider searching websites like http://www.achildsdream.org.