Adoption is your chosen path to parenthood, and as you may know, it's a process. When the wait starts to seems unbearable, you'll need to exercise patience. Remember, since adoption is a process, it won't happen overnight.
In today’s "Before You Adopt" series installment, we’ll be sharing about how you prepare your pets for the arrival of a baby or child. Read on to learn more about pets and adoption, and how this productive activity can be performed as you wait to be chosen by a birth mother!
If you're like many couples, your dog or cat truly is your first "baby." Your pet will remain a cherished part of the family when your son or daughter arrives, but your routines will undoubtedly change. That can confuse your furry friend. Here are some tips for your pets and adoption:
Dogs love predictability, and a newborn dramatically alters not only your life but your dog's too. He'll soon have to share your attention with a baby or child, and he won't be able to understand why. Don't wait until your baby is home to start helping your dog adjust to the expanded family. While you're in the adoption wait, initiate changes to get him used to a new schedule.
Sign your dog up for a basic obedience class, so there's no need to worry about issues like jumping up to greet you at the door. Also, give your pet a little exposure to babies by taking him to the park to see how he reacts from a distance. This helps your dog get gradually used to the sound and sight of children.
If you have a cat, make sure that any changes you make to their environment are gradual. Even small changes can cause stress for cats because they rely on consistency. Prepare your cat for baby sounds, as a baby’s crying can be very disturbing to a cat. Play a recording of baby sounds at a low volume when your cat is playing or eating. Then gradually raise the volume just a little at each subsequent dining or playing session. This lets your cat gradually get used to the sounds. You can also prepare your feline for baby smells by wearing the types of powders, lotions, and other products that you'll use with the baby. When you arrive home with your baby, bring home a blanket from the hospital that had held your baby to help your cat to adjust to those new smells, too.
When you receive the call from Lifetime that the birth mother who's chosen you is at the hospital, you'll need to travel to her. Since you'll be gone for up to two weeks, it's smart to think now about who will be your pet sitter. Choose a pet sitter now, who will feed your cat and/or dog and take the dog on walks. Consider doing a "practice run" for one night, and make sure to include instructions for the sitter such as food portions and where supplies are located. Also, it's wise to make any anticipated changes to your pets' routine now, well in advance of your child's arrival. Examples of changes to your pet's routine might include more time outdoors or in a crate. By making these changes now, you're ensuring that your pets don't associate the change with the new arrival.
For more info on how you can prepare your pets for baby, we recommend that you get in touch with your vet or local humane society.