By our International Adoption Coordinator Megan Montgomery, LMSW
Through each step of life, humans seek out connections with others who are in similar situations to find support and guidance. As a student, we bond with other students in classes or clubs, in the work force we find there are other co-workers we can bounce ideas off of or who will lend an ear when we are having difference of opinion, and as parents we look for other parents who we can brainstorm ideas with, help us to understand what our children need and provide us strength when we are struggling to parent as we want to. In adoption, this desire is no different, and truly it is quite vital to our overall well-being to have connections with others who have experienced adoption and know what the resources are in our community to provide support and guidance when we need it and even when we don’t.
Belonging to a group or community provides a sense of identity, and helps us to understand who we are. The relationships that are formed, allow us to explore our world safely and with support, which builds resources for times of stress and adversity.
There are many instances, which remind us of just how important involvement with families post-adoption is. Hearing from an adoptive parent who mentions the struggles they have been having for years, that they just never expected and don’t feel prepared to manage or the birth parent who says they have never felt supported by their family in their decision to make an adoption plan; we know that these individuals need support from someone who can relate to what they have experienced.
Research continues to demonstrate that many adopted children and families will encounter issues and emotions that can be aided by adoption-competent professionals. In fact, recent research published on the Evan B Donaldson Institute website concludes that too many are not receiving the essential services they need, and calls for a reshaping of national priorities and resources to develop and provide such services. Also, as we read news articles about specific cases where adoptive families have fallen on difficult times and not been able to locate the resources they so desperately needed, we are reminded that the supports need to be present and easily accessible. Today we also see that more and more families are adopting older children through International or Foster Care adoption, we know that these children and families are going to need to work hard to be successful together, and post-adoption support services can help them to cope and connect with one another.
While the majority of adopted children function within a normal range and their families are satisfied with their adoptions, all children who are adopted, adoptive and birth mothers, fathers, and their families would benefit from strong social connections and post-adoption services can help initiate these connections. It has become increasingly obvious that the need for more and easily accessible post-adoption services is imperative. Relationships create psychological space and safety so that we can explore and learn. Children and adults alike, are better able to use positive coping skills when they feel safe and supported.
Adoption STAR recognizes how important these support systems are as well as how hard it can be to know when we need to lean on such resources and also for some of us to find the right people to connect with. We hope that through the education we provide, parents will grow to understand that we do not only benefit from supports and resource when we are in need, but, that in having them continually beside us through life’s journey will provide us greater satisfaction and security.
Adoption STAR has a department known as Family STAR specifically dedicated to providing post adoption support to all those touched by adoption. As an agency we are continuously working to enhance these services and we are always interested in listening and learning what adoptees, birth families and adoptive families feel they need the most.
Read More on What is Happening at Adoption STAR: Our Calendar of Events for 2013
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