After going through the process of adoption, you may be wondering what next because there’s more involved than simply heading home and starting your new lives together. It’s important to make your adopted child feel more comfortable and happy so you can all bond, and here are four ways you can do this.

1. Validate Their Emotions

An adopted child will need some time to adjust to their new family and the new environment. They will often have some trauma that they need to heal from because even if they’re from an abusive family, they will still miss their biological parents. Whenever they’re going through something, allow them ample time to deal with it and help them through it gently. Let them know that nothing’s wrong with them when they’re feeling strong feelings and help them deal so that they can handle them in the future. This should be a skill you have or are willing to learn, given the fact that there are rules governing adoption in different states. For example, in Tennessee, parents seeking to adopt should be a resident of Tennessee for at least six months, be a minimum of 18 years old, and expect a thorough home study to be done beforehand.

2. Start a Family Photo Album

You should also start a family photo album and take plenty of photos together. Doing this may help your adopted child feel more welcome in your home and fit in faster. Make the experience fun and light-hearted so that they don’t feel like they’re under pressure to look or act a certain way. Involve them in family activities and document them having fun by taking videos and lots of pictures. You can look through these videos and images every now and then to bring happy memories back to life and your adopted child will start to enjoy their new life.

3. Come Up With a New Schedule

Schedules and routines are an important part of parenting, and they can be extra helpful for you when you’re trying to make your adopted child feel more at home. From when you wake up to when you go to bed, you should ensure that there’s a routine to guide the whole family. This will create a sense of grounding predictability for them, enabling them to relax and settle down more easily. If you have pets, don’t forget to also set a schedule for feeding and cleaning them and involve your adopted child in it. Let them know whether the amount of feed should be split between two to three meals per day based on how you schedule the feeding.

4. Embrace Their Culture

Finally, it’s not fair or reasonable to expect that your adopted child will just forget everything about the culture they’re from. To show them that you’re invested in becoming a part of their lives as much as you want them to be a part of yours, embrace their culture and celebrate it whenever possible. If their background is in a religion that’s different from yours, learn about it and be accepting if the child wants to maintain it. If they’re Catholic, for example, learn a bit about Catholicism and find out facts such as the existence of a model for discerning prayer that some people say was developed almost 500 years ago by a 16th-century Spanish soldier who became a priest. He’s currently recognized as a Catholic saint and is named St. Ignatius of Loyola.

Try the four methods above to help your adopted child feel more comfortable and a part of your family. Keep in mind that there’s no set time frame for them to adjust completely and allow them as much time as they need, noting that any progress is a positive thing.