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How Friends and Family Can Support Adoptive Families

In a world where every child deserves a loving, stable, and forever home, adoption offers hope and possibility. However, the adoption journey extends far beyond placing a child into a new family. It’s a lifelong commitment with unique challenges, joys, and triumphs. 

Post Adoption Program and how to support adoptive familiesThe Children’s Home Society of Virginia understands that adoption is a lifelong process. We are committed to providing high-quality, personalized support services for children and families from adoptive placement through finalization and beyond. Throughout the lifetime of adoption loss, grief, identity, attachment, and trauma impact children and their families. Our well-rounded program is designed to meet the individual needs of each child and family—from advocacy to day respite events —to build strong, permanent families.

In this blog, we delve into the vital importance of adoption support, exploring the many ways post-adoption programs and resources play a pivotal role in nurturing and sustaining healthy adoptive families. From emotional guidance to practical assistance, we’ll uncover the essential role of support systems in ensuring the well-being of both adopted children and their families, illuminating the transformative power of love and community in the adoption journey.

The Importance of Post-Adoption Support

Post-adoption support programs play a vital role in ensuring the well-being and stability of adoptive families and their children. Adoption can be a complex and lifelong journey, with unique challenges arising at different stages of a child’s development. These programs offer crucial assistance and resources to help families navigate these challenges successfully.

Serious couple with son in a deep conversation with family counselor.One significant aspect of post-adoption support is providing families with access to counseling and therapeutic services. Adopted children may experience a range of emotions and issues related to their adoption, such as identity struggles, attachment issues, or trauma from their past experiences. Professional support can help both parents and children address these challenges healthily and constructively, strengthening family bonds and promoting resilience.

Moreover, post-adoption support programs often offer educational resources and guidance to help parents understand and meet the specific needs of their adopted child. This may include training on parenting techniques tailored to the unique circumstances of adoption and information on accessing healthcare or educational services. By equipping families with the knowledge and skills they need to provide a nurturing and supportive environment, these programs contribute to the long-term success and stability of adoptive placements. Overall, the existence of robust post-adoption support programs is essential for ensuring the well-being of adopted children and their families, promoting positive outcomes, and fulfilling the promise of a loving and permanent home for every child.

Our Post Adoption Program Structure

Our Post Adoption Program recently entered into a new consortium model, in collaboration with the Virginia Department of Social Services and other service providers in the state, to efficiently and comprehensively serve all of Central and Northern Virginia’s adoptive families. Post adoption services in the Commonwealth of Virginia have been split up into five regions, and we operate in the Northern and Central regions.

You may notice that some of our offerings have changed and have been renamed. Rest assured, whether you live in Central or Northern Virginia, you can be confident that we will continue to provide the same—and even better—levels of high-quality, evidence-based, trauma-informed services as before.

Regional Post Adoption Consortium Services Central Region

In the Regional Post Adoption Consortium Services (RPACS) for the Central Virginia Region, UMFS is the lead agency. We partner with them along with C2Adopt.

Areas served in the Central Region include: 

  • Amelia
  • Buckingham
  • Caroline
  • Charles City
  • Chesterfield
  • Cumberland
  • Essex
  • Fluvanna
  • Goochland
  • Hanover
  • Henrico
  • Hopewell
  • King & Queen
  • King William
  • Lancaster
  • Lunenburg
  • Middlesex
  • New Kent
  • Northumberland
  • Nottoway
  • Petersburg
  • Powhatan
  • Prince Edward
  • Richmond City
  • Richmond County
  • Westmoreland

Northern Post Adoption Consortium

In the Northern Post Adoption Consortium (NPAC), The Center for Adoption Support and Education (C.A.S.E.) is the lead agency. We partner with them along with enCircle.

Areas served in the Northern Region include:

  • Alexandria
  • Arlington
  • Clarke
  • Culpeper
  • Fairfax County (incl. Falls Church)
  • Fauquier, Frederick
  • Fredericksburg
  • Greene
  • Harrisonburg-Rockingham
  • King George
  • Loudoun
  • Louisa
  • Madison
  • Manassas City
  • Manassas Park
  • Orange
  • Page
  • Prince William
  • Rappahannock
  • Shenandoah
  • Spotsylvania
  • Stafford
  • Warren
  • Winchester

Post Adoption Program Services

Both of our regions offer free services to support adoptive families.

*All services are available to you after an adoption is finalized.

Referral/Inquiry Basic Services

Referral/inquiry services are foundational services that all families are likely to need at some point in their adoption. They include:

  1. Information and/or referral
  2. Education, training, support, and advocacy for adoptive parents and youth, staff, and the larger community

Enhanced Services

Enhanced services are services that not all families will need but are known to be important for adoption stability. They include:

  1. Peer support events
  2. Assistance with birth family contact
  3. Planned day respite events
  4. Case Management 

You may use enhanced services for non-urgent problems. Enhanced services are designed to be available for you when you think you might have a specific need or you want to explore more hands-on service options for your family.

Intensive Services

Intensive services are services needed by relatively few families, but they are critically important to preserving adoptive families. Intensive services include:

  1. Crisis support
  2. Clinical Services

You may use intensive services for emergencies. Intensive services are available to you when you or your child are in immediate need of support.

How to Support Adoptive Families

There are numerous ways friends and family members can support adoptive families. 

  1. Acknowledge and celebrate the new family with thoughtful gestures such as “welcome baskets” or parties. Welcome baskets can include fun games for the family to play together and gift cards to local restaurants and family-fun activities. Think of family-building activities like escape rooms, museums, bowling alleys, putt-putt courses, science centers, arcades, or amusement parks.  
  2. Offer your time. The more positive influences in the child’s life, the better. Offer to spend time with the child for a few hours while the adoptive parent runs errands or goes to appointments.
  3. Drop off meals for the family. Those first few months are going to be a huge adjustment for the family. Not having to worry about cooking dinner would be a huge relief to the adoptive parents.
  4. Teach the child a new skill. Youth thrive when multiple caring adults commit to their growth and well-being. If you have a trade, talent, or skill that you could share with the adopted youth, help grow their sense of accomplishment. These skills could include painting, pottery making, sewing, woodworking, or gardening.   
  5. Schedule play dates. Adopted youth often struggle to make connections and are left out of typical childhood experiences. If you have kids of your own, invite the adopted children to play with your children to foster a sense of belonging.
  6. Be a source of hope and maintain a non-judgmental attitude toward adoptive parents. 
  7. Use positive adoption language. Words hurt! Using positive adoption language can help stop the spread of misconceptions about adoption and convey greater respect for the adoptive family. Positive adoption language allows friends and family to have real, meaningful conversations with an adoptive family without inadvertently using judgemental or hurtful phrasing.

By embracing these actions, everyone can play a part in recognizing and celebrating adoption.

National Volunteer Month

April is National Volunteer Month! If you want to support Virginia adoption, we need clothing gift cards for kids in foster care who have been matched with families but still have several months before the adoption finalizes. These gift cards will allow for right-sized, seasonal clothing for growing youth in foster care.

Our My Path Forward youth are also in need of different items. Our My Path Forward program provides housing and wrap-around services for aged-out foster youth in Virginia. Wanted items include: 

  • All-purpose seasoning
  • Salt and pepper
  • Jiffy cornbread mix
  • Honey
  • Ketchup and mustard
  • Toilet paper
  • Paper towels
  • Laundry detergent
  • Fabric softener
  • Dishwasher pods
  • Hand soap
  • Sponges
  • Feminine hygiene products (tampons and thin pads only)
  • Shampoo and conditioner 
  • Body wash and soap 
  • Lotion 
  • Tissues
  • Gender-neutral bed sets or sheets for full-sized beds
  • Towels and washcloths
  • Shower curtains and liners
  • Pillows
  • Light bulbs
  • Batteries
  • Flashlights
  • Band-Aids and first-aid supplies
  • Air fryers
  • Pots and pans 
  • Kitchen utensils and silverware
  • Cups, bowls, and plates

If you are interested in learning more about donating items, please contact Erika, at 804-353-0191, ext. 100, or email her at [email protected]. We appreciate your heart to volunteer and serve!

Upcoming Post Adoption Events

two kids facing a baseball field waiting to catch a fly ball.Our priority is always our adoptive families. We know how important adoption support and having a sense of community is!

Our Post Adoption Program throws many events throughout the year for adoptive families. 

For our Central Region, we recently held a Pottery Painting event at CREATE Pottery in Midlothian. This was a drop-off respite event where adoptive families brought their adoptees to the event, and we supervised them during the activity for a few hours. 

We will also hold a peer-support event at the Flying Squirrels baseball game in April where adoptive families can mingle and engage with one another to, hopefully, build their adoption community.

Support Adoptive Families & Virginia Adoption: 2024 Annual Celebration

If you would like to support adoptive families even further, we invite you to our annual celebration event! Celebrate 124 years with us at Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden on Sunday, April 28th. The event ticket includes all-day garden admission, food, mimosas, and ample free parking. Read more about the event here and buy tickets here.

When we allow children to thrive, our entire community benefits.

If you would like to learn more about our post adoption program, please give us a call:

Amber: 804-353-0191 (Central)

As always, none of what we do would be possible without you. If you feel inclined to donate financially to our cause, we would greatly appreciate it. With your help, we can continue serving Virginia’s most vulnerable youth!

Donate Now!