After an adoption is complete, life is never (ever!) the same again.

Not for anyone. It’s a little like going on a voyage around the world; when you get back, people may not think you look any different, but the places you’ve been and the things you’ve experienced truly have changed you, forever.

And change is always stressful, whether we consider the changes in our lives to be positive or negative. So it’s important to have qualified professionals you can talk to, before and after adoption, who understand what you’ve been through, and strong support networks in your personal life that you can turn to for help.

Keeping post-adoption promises is essential, of course. While relationships between adoptive parents and birthparents sometimes change, subtly, as both deal with all the changes in their lives following an adoption, it’s important to keep lines of communication open. To check in with and to make time for those other parents who mean so much to your child, like the family members that you surely are.

Let others know what you need from them. Whether this means setting boundaries with pushy relatives or asking for a hug or contacting the agency for counseling, speak up and don’t be afraid to communicate your needs. Don’t presume others can read your mind; tell people who care about you how they can support you best.

Be gentle with yourself. Anyone who’s been through all the emotions of the adoption process deserves points for effort, because they made huge personal sacrifices for love of a child. So don’t second guess yourself, afterwards. Own your emotions, sure! But embrace what is, and love thyself!

Finally, stay connected with your adoption community. Nobody “gets” where you’ve been like your sojourners here at Abrazo. Keep up on the Forum. Recharge your batteries at Camp Abrazo each summer. Be sure to friend Abrazo on Facebook, and let us add you to our private alumni group. And don’t forget to come/call home (the home office, that is!) when you need a friend. Our welcome mat is always out.