One of the very best things about my job is the ability to pull together “experts” to answer questions and brainstorm ideas about topics I feel passionate about. And there is no subject I’m more passionate about than post adoption support.
We have been talking a lot lately over here at Creating a Family about how to best utilize our resources to support families post adoption. How do you reach families with high quality information? What type of resources do adoptive families need and covering what topics? And most of all, how to get these resources in the hands of families when they need it most?
I LOVED the Creating a Family show this week on Post Adoption Support: Needs, Gaps, and Solutions! I got to talk with three of the true leaders in the field of post adoption support: Debra Waller, Chief Executive Officer of Jockey International, Inc. and founder of Jockey Being Family Foundation; Rita Soronen, President and CEO of the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption; and Susan Cox, Vice President of Public Policy and External Affairs at Holt International, and one of the first Korean adoptees in the US.
These ladies are rock stars! We talked about the need for post adoption support and education, the gaps, and then brainstormed possible solutions.
Families Aren’t Getting Post Adoption Support
We have been running an informal survey in the last month online of our community about post adoption support. We’ve asked lots of questions and have pulled together some fascinating information, but no questions solicited such response as when we asked what type of support families received from their agencies after adoption. I took the unusual step of reading some of them on air because they touched me so.
We adopted our daughter via foster care at 3 years of age. We received a flyer on post adoption services and a name/number to call for crisis intervention should we need it. Aside from that, we have received no post adoption support from our agency. I turn to a handful of Facebook groups such as this one [the Creating a Family Facebook Support Group] for support.
(adopted a 12 year old from foster care) We’ve received no support at all. Both the Texas caseworker and our local agency caseworker said that once the adoption was final we were on our own. I left a message, just wanting to give them an update, and my call was not returned. I guess they were serious. We are lucky that we’ve had no major issues.
We adopted a teen from foster care with severe mental issues and I received no official post adoption support. I had to figure things out for myself. I joined a local adoption support group and researched online. No, it was not enough and things are still very rocky.
We’ve adopted 7 between ages 1-7 at placement. We had both state and private case workers that aided us until finalization with making sure we had services (therapies) or dx of special needs in place. We also had wrap around services through a ministry that supports foster and adoptive families with meals, babysitting, etc. Once we finalized all support from state and agency was gone so during time building up to that they really pushed hard getting things in place (like FASD DX for one child). They disappeared completely after finalization!
Adopted 2 kids internationally through same agency. There was no post-adoption follow up or support. We just figured things out on our own and for a brief time I joined a local adoption support group, which disbanded just about as soon as it started. I did, however, make friends with other parents of internationally adopted children both in person and on this group. I’ve learned the most through them.
We adopted from Ethiopia and had no support whatsoever when we came home! We live in Illinois and our adoption agency is located in another state but our homestudy agency is located only 15 minutes from us but they offered no help. I turned to other adoptive parents on the internet for help, as well as read everything I could find online.
We’ve done two international adoptions. No post adoption support whatever except for a list of books they said I might want to read. I found on my own a variety of listservs and of course this online group. Thank goodness for this group.
We adopted a teen from foster care. We received support from our private agency, a counselor for our son, a family counselor, [the Creating a Family] online support group, Cafe Mom online support group, our family, and our church family. We managed to weather through food issues, lying, bullying, and developing an open adoption relationship. We can still access resources from our agency 2 years after finalization.
What was your experience post adoption? Did you get support and if so, from whom?
P.S. The document that Rita Soronen mentioned on the show that The Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption funded by the Donaldson Adoption Institute is Supporting And Preserving Adoptive Families: Profiles Of Publicly Funded Post-Adoption Services.Image credit: Pixel Fantasy