Welcome to The Post-Adoption Department’s resource section for families and waiting parents. Here, we regularly introduce and discuss topics that commonly affects adoptive parents and families, as well as provide access to specific resources that you can utilize. Check out the Adoption Toolkit for additional resources.
Regardless of how well you try to educate and prepare yourself for the certainty of adoption, many families arrive back home and find that they have trouble attaching to their child, that their child is having a difficult time adjusting, or has more severe medical issues than originally reported. If you are feeling overwhelmed, reach out for help. Respite comes in many different forms, from leaning on loved ones to seeking professional relief. Many of the issues that arise will fade with time, but the first step will always be acknowledging when you need help.
In honor of Down Syndrome Awareness Month, we want to provide you with ways to learn more and make a difference in the life of a child. Whether you are considering adopting a child with Down syndrome or are just interested in supporting and advocating for the hundreds of DS children around the world waiting for their forever families, these websites are an excellent way to get started!
Coming home, children will often display behaviors that can make dinner or snack time difficult. Hoarding, overeating, and food obsession are common signs of food insecurity and are often a result of past experiences. Identifying where these behaviors stem from is the first step in helping your child to heal.
Black History Month
February marks Black History Month in the US. Although conversation about race in America is much too important to just be discussed one month out of the year, I encourage everyone to take advantage of all the resources and local events that will be readily available over the next several weeks to celebrate and learn!
10 Ways to Honor Black History Month in a Transracial Family List from adoption.com for activities you can complete all year long.
Favorite Books for Black History Month List of a wide variety of children’s books for a variety of ages.
As we become a more globalized community, one of the things that has increased substantially is our access to foods from all across the world. Whether through restaurants or international markets and grocery stores, many families now have the ability to easily incorporate foods from their children’s pasts into their mealtimes. Food has the ability to invoke memories in ways that few other things can and can be an excellent way to connect you to your child and your child to their culture. For families who are still waiting, incorporating things into your routine now is a great way to start getting prepared.
With so much out there, we recommend a good Google search to get yourself started. Depending on your mealtime routine, we recommend looking up country-specific food blogs or recipes or researching local international markets, international grocery stores, and country-specific restaurants to find out what is available in your area. You’ll be surprised at all you may be able to find!
After months of hard work, your home study has been finalized and your dossier submitted – you are now all done with the worst of your paperwork. Congratulations! Now comes the hard part: The Wait. Depending on your situation, this may be a matter of months or of years, but regardless, the consensus that we hear from every family is that it feels like it will never end. At least when you were completing your dossier, you were actually doing something…
While the amount of time that you will end up waiting may be out of your hands, that does not mean that there is not more that can be done. Check out these sites below for both practical and enjoyable things that you can do to help make your wait a little more manageable.
42 Ways to Survive the Adoption Wait – List from Creating a Family on big and little ways to keep yourself busy while waiting for your child.
Waiting for Your Adopted Child – Advice on how to care for and manage your own mental health during the wait.
Re-adoption is the process of finalizing an internationally adopted child’s adoption in the US. While not required in most states in the US, it is highly recommended as a final step towards cementing your child’s adoption. The benefits of re-adoption are numerous and the longer that I work in this field, the more strongly I recommend it. Check out CAS’s website for a list of the benefits of re-adoption and contact your home study agency to learn more about the requirements in your state.
State Recognition of Intercountry Adoptions Finalized Abroad – General overview of finalization and re-adoption requirements based on the state from the Child Welfare Information Gateway.
American Academy of Adoption Attorneys – Listing of certified adoption attorneys across the US.
Talking About Adoption
Adoption is not a one-time event, but a lifelong process. This phrase, once barely considered, is now echoed so often it’s almost a cliché – but don’t let that undermine its importance. As your child ages, their identity as an adoptee may impact them in ways that may be hard to identify. From time to time, we recommend checking in with your children to learn what they are thinking – their responses may surprise you! Below find resources for understanding the impact of adoption as adopted children age and advice on how to talk to them about it.
Talking with Kids About Adoption – Basic age-based overview of helping adopted children process their adoptive identity as the age.
Parenting Your Adopted School-Age Child – Article from the Child Welfare Information Gateway to help parents understand and respond to their adopted child’s developmental needs.
Post-adoption depression syndrome, also known as PADS, is a condition that commonly affects adopted parents after bringing their child or children home. More common in families who have adopted internationally, PADS can commonly arise from the stress of bringing your child home, adjusting to parenting an older child, struggles and grief surrounding unrealized expectations about your child or adoption, and/or trouble bonding or attaching to your child.
If you are struggling with depression-like symptoms that may be related to your adoption, please do not feel you need to tough it out or try to rationalize your feelings away. Transitioning with your new child is not something that can be done without the help and support of others in the best of circumstances and struggling does not make you weak, selfish, or unfit to be a parent. It is important to take time for yourself, to be open about your struggles, and to ask for help as needed or before things become too much to handle. Below are resources for identifying symptoms and educating yourself about post-adoption depression.
Post-Adoption Depression – Articles from the Child Welfare Information Gateway on recognizing, coping with, and relating to post-adoption depression in parents.
Psychology Today – Detailed professional listings for psychologists, psychiatrists, therapists, counselors, group therapy, and treatment centers around the country. Organized by the state and then the area and focus.
To say that single parenting is challenging is likely an understatement, even if you wouldn’t change a single thing about it. These challenges, however, make it that much more important that you ensure that you and your family are getting all the support that you need. Being a single parent does not mean that you are expected to parent all alone, nor that you will be able to – which is okay! Now that your child is home, please do not forget this. Below are some resources for single parents.
*We at CAS would like to reiterate the importance for parents of both single and dual parent homes to find regular times to care for yourself and nurture your support system separate from your children.
Single Mothers by Choice – Support and information for single women who are parents. Hosts a blog, community forum, and local networking and support groups all over the country.
Adoptive Families: Single Parenting – Single Adopters and Parents Resources from Adoptive Families articles, books, and other resources for single adoptive parents.
Race and Culture
The importance of race and culture in adopted children, especially those in transracial or transnational families, cannot be underestimated. Even if your child cannot express it, does not seem particularly affected it, or was adopted at too young an age to understand the difference, most children will eventually recognize that the fact that they were adopted sets them apart from the general population.
As children age, this knowledge will affect them differently and in varying amounts, but it is important to keep in mind that acknowledging these differences in your child is not a negative thing. In fact, it is a very healthy and beneficial ongoing topic of conversation. Open communication and establishing secure connections to your child’s original culture or their race from the beginning is essential to ensuring that if and when your child begins to feel different from everyone else, that she or he does not also feel alone. Below are some resources to help get your family started.
Pact – A non-profit organization serving adopted children of color. Provides education, support, and community for adoptees and their families on matters of adoption and race.
Raising a Culturally Different Child – Tips for assessing your family’s level of cultural sensitivity and integration and for helping children build a positive self-concept and cultural and racial identity.
Pact, A non-profit organization serving adopted children of color. Provides education, support, and community for adoptees and their families on matters of adoption and race. A non-profit organization serving adopted children of color. Provides education, support, and community for adoptees and their families on matters of adoption and race. https://www.pactadopt.org/
Child Welfare Information Gateway, List of resources from the Child Welfare Information Gateway. https://www.childwelfare.gov/topics/adoption/adoptive/family-type/transracial/
Adoptive Families, Collection of articles on race from Adoptive Families as it pertains to transracial families and parenting. https://www.adoptivefamilies.com/category/transracial-adoption/
“Ten Things Adult Transracial Adoptees Want You to Know”; includes links to other resources and a recorded panel discussion from the Creating a Family Radio show. https://creatingafamily.org/adoption-category/ten-things-adult-transracial-adoptees-want-know/
Transracial Adoption Meetups across the country: https://www.meetup.com/topics/transracial-adoption/
Outsiders Within: Writing on Transracial Adoption
Edited by Jane Jeong Trenka, Julia Chinyere Oparah, and Sun Yung Shin
In 30 essays, fiction pieces, and poems, adult adoptees bring their unique perspectives to the psychological ramifications of an institution that’s long only been explored through the narrow lens of the adoptive parent.
The Harris Narratives: An Introspective Study of a Transracial Adoptee
By Susan Harris O’Connor
Originally conceived as autobiographical monologues, the author, a social worker, and transracial adoptee, serves up five laser-sharp explorations—“My First Birthday” is a winner—of race and identity.
I Love You Just Because: Join 3 bear siblings who explore what makes them special. Great book for the early years to preschool. By: Donna Keith
Podcasts & Welcome
Welcome to The Post-Adoption Department’s new resource section for families and waiting parents. Each month we will be introducing and discussing a new topic that commonly affects adoptive parents and families, as well as providing access to specific resources that you can utilize. In the next couple of months, be on the lookout for subjects such as post-adoption depression, race, single parenting, and the importance of support networks. This month… podcasts!
Although one of the things that parents seem to want most when they have the chance is silence, podcasts can be a great opportunity to increase your knowledge and engagement in the adoption community and gain important tips for parenting while doing something else, such as driving or doing chores. Podcasts can cover a multitude of topics, are easy to access and, perhaps most importantly, are generally free of charge! Searching online for “adoption podcasts” will give you a multitude of suggestions, but below are a couple of our favorites.
Creating a Family – Interviews with leading experts on infertility and adoption each week to bring unbiased, accurate information on all aspects of adoption and infertility.
Infant Adoption Guide – The Infant Adoption Guide Podcast is the place to find the resources, inspiration, and help you need for your infant adoption.