Placement is not the ending… it’s just the beginning.
All too often, folks make the mistake of thinking the day a child leaves one family and goes home with another that it’s the completion of their adoption plans, but in truth, the day of entrustment is just the start of each child’s adoption journey.
How that child adapts to his/her new identity and his/her new family, how the parents adjust and how his/her first family cope post-adoption is all part of the adoption story. There’s no “right” or “wrong” way for that story to unfold, but at Abrazo, all of our adopting families commit (at placement) to raise every child adopted here with the knowledge of their adoption story– and their birthparents– from Day One, so there is hopefully never a time when kids adopted through Abrazo are unaware the truth of Chapter One in the story of their lives.
Because everyone deserves to know Chapter One of their lifestory, don’t they? Of course they do. And in a perfect world, that would be enough to make everything right for all time, but of course, it’s not.
In every life story, there are ups and downs, victories and challenges, and the same is true for every adoptive family and every birthfamily and every adoptee. Still, it’s hard to know, sometimes, what constitutes an “adoption issue” and what’s just a garden-variety developmental issue; finding professional help who are well-versed in open adoption practice can be essential in getting kids who were once adopted and their families the help that’s needed.
Remaining involved in the adoption community can help parents and children maintain ties, so all triad members continually have the support of friends who understand, and continue to learn and grow over time. Parents (and kids) can find needed post-adoption peer support and informal advice on Abrazo’s Forum and at Camp Abrazo. Abrazo’s staff can provide basic assistance with helping parties who have lost touch achieve Reconnection, assuming all parties are mutually motivated. (Click here to learn more about the importance of Post-Adoption Services.)
Yet when more intensive post-adoption services are needed, Abrazo recommends the following resources (click names to access websites):
Dr. Joyce Maguire Pavao: Adoption Consulting & Coaching, 617-547-0909
Patricia Martinez Dorner, MA, LPC: Adoption Counseling & Search, 210-341-2070
Joe Soll, LCSW: Adoption Healing & Psychotherapy, 212-988-0110
The Center For Adoption Support & Education: 301-476-8525
The Kinship Center: 408-554-2550
Adoption is not an easy thing– not for grownups nor for kids. It’s a lifelong adjustment process, and there’s an infinite learning curve. (Be sure to read Proactive Parenting, for more from a parent who’s been there.) And don’t be afraid to ask for help, if needed. It doesn’t mean you’re a inadequate parent, nor a problem kid. It just means that parenting (and adolescence) are both tough jobs, and we all get by better with a little backup, now and then.