Oftentimes, adopted children experience loss, grief, trust and attachment issues, identity formation problems, trauma, developmental delays, and school difficulties.
Post adoption services are meant to meet the unique individual needs of each child and family with the goal of building and maintaining strong, permanent families.
However, the global pandemic has made it difficult to offer regular post adoption services over the last year.
“Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, everything has changed for families in the United States and around the world. This is especially true for adoptive families, who rely on routine, predictability, and an array of regular services and supports to maintain their best family homeostasis.” – Sara VanderPloeg, CHSVA Post Adoption Program Manager
As a result of the pandemic, there have been many setbacks, which have created a handful of challenges for adoptive families. Some of these setbacks include disruption of school and extracurricular activities, as well as access to normal health and mental health services that have been interrupted, severed, or even completely restricted.
“These families already work extra hard to utilize specialized parenting methods to help their children overcome early traumatic experiences, but their ability to pull together their own best selves along with a team of experts has been tested,” Sara said.
Despite the challenges, we have learned to adapt – something we have always done over our 121 years. We adapt year after year so we can provide the best solution for our adoptive families.
Ongoing Supports for Adoptive Families
Children’s Home Society understands the importance of the foundational pillars of parenting children who have experienced trauma:
- Unending care
That is why we are dedicated to providing high-quality, personalized support services for children and families starting at the adoptive placement and continuing through finalization and beyond, no matter what that looks like.
Post adoption services are crucial for successful adoption.
Even though we, like the rest of the world, had to stop providing in-person respite programs and engaging family events, that didn’t stop us from providing the crucial support adoptive families need.
We had to start thinking outside the box, which is why this year has been full of inventive and inspirational services to support our community of adoptive families.
Post Adoption Services During a Global Pandemic
Like many other businesses and organizations, CHS took to the virtual screen. Since in-person events were off the table, we created online events to help our adoptive families experience fun and connect safely from their homes.
“We created bi-weekly online segments supporting children and parents with a variety of calming and stress reduction techniques, games, and activities to understand and regulate feelings, as well as how to reach out if you are having big feelings,” Sara said. “We also engaged a local yoga studio, a hilarious magician, an enthusiastic theater troupe, an artist who made us all feel open to creativity and even teamed up with a local trivia host to bring back family game nights.”
As we move into the second year of operating in a virtual sphere, CHS has surveyed our adoptive families to continue to create programs that meet their wants and needs. It’s important to hear from the people who are impacted to know whether these programs will actually help and address their problems and if they’re something they will take advantage of.
“We have used the virtual setting to our advantage, teaming up with musicians from across the country for Virtual Jam and Songwriting Sessions,” Sara said. “We also found new local partners to help us host an outdoor drive-in movie night!”
Post Adoption Services: Behind the Scenes
Our post adoption team has also been at work behind the scenes serving on the leadership teams for the newly formed statewide post adoption consortia.
“These regional consortia are a new model for serving adoptive families in Virginia, one that leans on the expertise of providers from around the state to collectively better serve more adoptive families,” Sara said. “We are defining services and expanding them to new areas, capturing and analyzing data, and teaming up with invested community partners from all areas of family services to create an array of services that is consistent and relevant to the needs of Virginia’s adoptive families.”
CHS serves families not only in the Central Virginia region but also in the Northern Virginia region, which includes Louisa and Fredericksburg up to Arlington and Winchester. We have grown our team to be able to meet the needs of our families.
“The lifelong journey of an adoptive family is a complicated dance between boundaries and attachment, nurture and structure, love and challenge, and our post adoption team is learning new moves to dance right alongside our families in the best way we know how,” Sara said.
Children’s Home Society of Virginia Post Adoption Program
Adoption is a lifelong process. In order to build strong, permanent families, post adoption services and support, which continue to serve adoptive families long after the adoption is complete, are crucial for successful adoption and a great source of comfort for families who are considering adoption.
Our Post Adoption Program includes Basic Services, Intensive Services, and Crisis Services.
Basic Services are general services available to you after an adoption is finalized. You may use basic services to get more information or answers to common adoption questions.
Intensive Services are services that not all families will need but are known to be important for adoption stability. They include:
- Peer support
- Virtual respite
- Level II case management
Crisis Services are services needed by relatively few families, but they are critically important to preserving adoptive families. Crisis services include:
- Crisis support
To learn when to seek each set of services, click here.
Other typical post adoption services include support groups, therapy, and counseling.
If you are interested in learning more about our post adoption program, please email our Post Adoption Program Manager at firstname.lastname@example.org.