Deciding to go through the adoption process to bring a child into your family was likely one of the most important decisions you have ever made. After connected with an expectant mother and finalizing the adoption of your child, your journey is only just beginning. Adoption is a lifelong commitment that can present unique challenges, making post-adoption support a very important consideration for adoptive families. Learn more about the importance of post-adoption support and our top tips for thriving after an adoption placement.
What is post-adoption support for families?
Post-adoption support is the process in which families receive assistance with navigating their lives after the adoption has been finalized. This can look different for every family but usually includes things like support groups, therapeutic services, counseling, parental education, and work with a dedicated caseworker. Post-adoption support ensures that families are provided with the tools and resources the need to allow them to have a positive lifelong experience and forge strong bonds with each other.
The adoption journey doesn’t end with the placement.
A common adoption myth is that a family’s adoption journey ends after the adoption has been finalized. While it is true that that particular legal aspect may be complete, you are actually just embarking on a journey that will last a lifetime. Every family’s adoption journey looks different and will involve different challenges, but every adoptive family needs post-adoption support in order to thrive in the long term.
Something important to remember when considering life after placement is that you are not going through your adoption journey alone. Like any other family, you should rely on your circle of relatives and friends while also expanding your network to include other adoptive families, counselors, and your caseworker, who can also be helpful in your specific situation.
Stay in touch with your caseworker.
As you begin to navigate life as adoptive parents, we encourage staying in touch with your caseworker. They will be able to provide you with access to reliable resources and services that can help you get your post-adoption needs met, whatever they may be. For example, a caseworker could help you access therapeutic community services or counseling. Additionally, if you and your child’s birthmother have a semi-open or open adoption agreement, your caseworker can give you advice on how to communicate and continue to build a trusting, positive relationship with the birthmother.
Join an adoption support group.
One of our best resources is our connection with others. For this reason, a great tip for adoptive families is to join an adoption support group in order to surround themselves with other people who can understand the joys and challenges of their situation. There is an abundance of support groups both online and locally that are specifically for adoptive families and children. The benefits of support groups are that they allow families to build relationships, get access to additional resources, receive mentorship, and most importantly, form a community. Connecting with others you can lean on and talk with for support will make all the difference in your adoption journey.
Look for adoption-related podcasts.
Beyond online support groups, there are other resources available online, particularly as adoption continues to be a choice for more families across the country. An often-overlooked but easily accessible resource for adoptive parents are podcasts. They are great because you can listen to them anywhere, whether you are in the car, at work, on a trip, or at home. Some adoption-related podcasts that could be beneficial for adoptive families include Adoption Now, Infant Adoption Guide, and The Honestly Adoption Podcast, but there are many more out there. Add some adoption-related podcasts to your playlist to hear stories from other adoptive families or some specific parenting tips that are specific to your family situation.
Continue educating yourself.
Something to keep in mind is that even after your adoption has been finalized, you will still continue to learn and grow. Parenting can be difficult no matter what the situation is, but as a parent of a child who was adopted, you will face unique challenges (and unique joys!). We suggest continuing to educate yourself on adoption-related issues and how to navigate raising a child who was adopted. Seek out webinars, articles, and videos on post-adoption related topics that are published by experts, adoptees, and adoptive families to continue learning about adoption. Our world is constantly transforming and changing, and with that, discourse and approaches to adoption can also transform and change. As an adoptive parent, being open to learning about adoption can make a positive impact on your adoption journey and your life.