As we all know, going through the adoption process is a huge emotional and financial commitment, but the time will come when you will be chosen by a birthmother and your dreams of having a child will come true. Before your baby arrives, there will be many things you need to do to get yourself, your family, and your home ready. Preparing for a new baby’s arrival is no easy feat, but with proper planning you can get everything done that you need to so that when your new addition arrives, you can spend all of your quality time bonding and taking care of them. To help you be proactive in your preparation, we have created this quick guide to lend a helping hand as you get ready for your new baby.
Make a Welcome Home Checklist
The first thing you should do to prepare for the arrival of your adopted child is to create a welcome home checklist for yourself. This will help you ensure that you have everything you need done before the baby arrives. Preparing for the arrival of a new baby can seem like an insurmountable task, but having a checklist can make it less overwhelming and manageable. The beauty of a checklist is that it allows you to have a visual tool for understanding how much you have to do and how much you have already accomplished, so you can give yourself a much needed pat on the back as you work through it.
Get Ready for the Hospital
Often we never know when the baby will arrive, but when the time comes, you will have to drop everything you are doing to travel to the hospital. To make sure that you are not forced to “panic pack” and forget important things, you should make yourself a “go bag” ahead of time that contains all of the essentials you will need for the hospital. For those things you can’t pack ahead of time, like phone chargers, toothbrushes, or contact lenses, make a list so you can quickly grab what you need without forgetting anything as you run out the door.
Get Your Home Ready
This goes without saying but you will need to prepare your home for your adopted baby’s arrival. This means making sure you are well stocked with all of the necessary baby supplies, like diapers, wipes, onesies, burp cloths, pacifiers, and developmentally appropriate toys. In your kitchen you will need to have bottles, bottle brushes, formula, and other day-to-day feeding tools.
You can also begin baby proofing your house by installing cabinet locks, padding on sharp edges on furniture, and a baby gate for your stairs. Babies grow quickly and they will begin walking before you know it!
Something you can do to acquire all of the new baby items you need for your home is to create a baby registry so that your friends and family can help with the arrival preparations. If you’re on a budget, you can usually find a variety of gently used baby supplies and clothing on local online marketplace listings or at local resale shops. Don’t hesitate to ask any friends or family members with growing children if they have any supplies or clothes they’d be willing to part with; parents are often more than happy to help other parents in this way.
Learn About Caring For a Newborn
If you are bringing a new baby for the first time, it is a good idea to get as informed as possible about caring for a newborn. There are many online resources that have valuable information about newborn care. You can also pick up a book or take a class either online or in person at a community center or local hospital.
Keep in mind that all of the reading and classes in the world can only prepare you so much. You should also be prepared to accept that you will make mistakes and not everything will go according to plan as you are adjusting to being a parent of a new baby, and that is ok!
There are certain medical-related things you should consider when getting ready to bring your adopted child home. Most importantly, you should make sure that you are prepared to handle any minor injuries by taking a first aid class and preparing an in-home first aid kit that will be stored in an easy-to-access place. You can also take a CPR class so you are prepared in the case of an emergency.
Additionally, you should take some time to choose a pediatrician for the baby that you trust. If this is your first baby, you can ask other parents for their recommendations or read online reviews of local doctors so you can choose the right pediatrician for your family.
Prepare Your Family Financially
Almost every new parent experiences some modicum of anxiety and worry about having enough money to support the new addition to their family. One thing you can do to quell your fears is to start putting money aside in an emergency fund that would cover your family for at least three to six months. Being a new parent is full of financial surprises, but having an emergency nest egg can help you better handle anything that is thrown at you.
You should also take some time to budget for typical baby expenses including diapers, wipes, formula, childcare, and more. Budgeting appropriately for these basic, necessary expenses will ensure your baby always has what they need. .
Pick a Name
Arguably, one of the most important items on your list is to pick a name for the new baby. Something to keep in mind is that the name you pick will stay with the child for the rest of their lives so it is good to give this careful consideration. Rather than choosing one name, you may want to make a short list of names you love so that when you meet the baby you can decide which name fits them the best!
If you do not know what gender your baby will be, you can make a list of girl, boy, or gender neutral names so you have a few to choose from when the big day comes. One thing you should take into consideration is that the birthmother may want to have input about the baby name. It’s also possible to be chosen by a birthmother whose baby is already born and legally named, so keep that in mind as well.
If you are feeling understandably overwhelmed by this responsibility, this NPR podcast has great tips and discourse on picking a baby name.
If you and/or your partner work full- or part-time, it is important to have a plan for your baby’s care after they’ve arrived. Take some time to speak to your employer and look into your leave options. You will also need to consider how much time you want to take off to care for the baby initially.
Then, if you and/or your partner go back to work, you need to consider what the baby’s care will look like during that time. If you don’t have the luxury of having a trusted family around you who are willing to be daytime caregivers for the baby, you will have to research day care centers in your area or hire a nanny.
Take Care of You
When you get the call that your baby is on their way, things will go from 0 to 100 really fast, which is why you should take some time for yourself before their arrival. Some adoptive parents take a mini vacation or weekend getaway to get some relaxation in before their new baby comes. If you do this, you should stay somewhat close by in case the baby decides to come early.
Self care looks different for everyone, but make sure you choose to do the things you love, that recharge you, and that fulfill you, whether it is meeting up with your friends, taking some time to sleep in, and doing whatever it is you do that brings you peace and joy. While this will be a busy time in your life, you should make sure you are prioritizing yourself so that when the baby does arrive, you are the best possible version of you and in the best shape to care for your new addition.