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“Healing came, not in the way we had prayed for, but in the way that God had planned all along.Healing came in small steps. Healing came when we sent in our application to adopt to New Beginnings. Healing came in the form of a letter telling us we were on the waiting list. Healing came in the form of a phone call on a Saturday afternoon telling me I was a mommy.”– (adoptive parent)

Healing takes on many forms. While adoptive parents often talk about excitement as they bring home their child, older children may feel more nervousness. School-aged children not only adjust to a new family, but new schools, neighborhoods and sometimes cultures.

Ease the tensions this summer (and have a little fun) by planning some “staycation” activities for your newly expanded family.

Parks and Attractions

You don’t have to spend hundreds or even thousands of dollars planning a trip to the beach or mountains to have a fun, bonding vacation. Start by checking

out local attractions.  Not sure which attractions may be geared to your child’s age? Research online some of the closet parks, museums or zoos and their suggested age ranges. Visit several different parks around your town and get your child familiar with your lifestyle as soon as possible.

Famous Eats

Is your region known for BBQ, pizza or specialty sandwiches? Carve out a few nights this summer to try out a few new restaurants. Don’t be concerned if your children opt for chicken strips instead of the ribs you love. Encourage them to try a bite of something new and use this time to share with them stories from your life about when or where you first tried this local delicacy.

Tour of the town

Pay close attention to your child’s interests and take them on a special trip through town geared just to them. Does your daughter love to read? Take her to the library to sign up for her new library card (using her new last name of course!). Treat her to a new book at the local new or used bookstore. Does your son love playing the guitar? Take him to the local music shop. Find a local music event and spend the evening listening to local bands.

 Your own backyard

The heat is on and it’s only getting hotter.  Take advantage of the lovely summer weather in your own backyard.  Create a slip-n-slide for the kids or turn the sprinklers on in the yard to create an amusement park feel.  Introduce your child to the splendid taste of smores and create a campsite in your backyard. Invite over neighborhood children and introduce your child to his or her new classmates.

 Adopting an older child or even teen comes with it’s own challenges and transitions. Summer offers many ways to bond families, create memories and learn about your community all at the same. time.