Adoption Education

An important part of Adoption Preparation is the education, training, and counseling that prepares you to parent an adopted child. Our Adoption Preparation Education program has been designed in accordance with Hague guidelines, relevant research, and client feedback.

MLJ Adoptions is able to provide adoption preparation education services for families who are using MLJ Adoptions for their adoptions, as well as for families who are not adopting through MLJ Adoptions.

For Families Adopting Through MLJ Adoptions

Our staff will assist prospective parents in creating a personalized plan for education based on the needs of the family and child they plan to adopt. All plans will include core courses, core assignments, and a course on culture specific to your adoption program. Additional courses or assignments may be required based on the country program, child you intend to adopt, or family characteristics. These courses and assignments, class handouts, review of materials, etc., are included as a part of all of our programs; however, elective educational opportunities and requirements may carry an additional cost. You will be able to register for required classes, complete required assignments, and register for additional educational opportunities through It is important to remember that you must register for any courses which you intend to attend at least one week prior to the course date. Further information can be found in your Adoption Preparation Guide and/or the Client Care Database.

Core Courses for All MLJ Adoptions’ Families

Stress & Adoption Adoption can be one of the most stressful events of a parent’s life, and it can be even more stressful for the child. Learn how to manage the stress of the adoption process and other stressors throughout life. Topics covered include, but are not limited to: information about the impact on a child of leaving familiar ties and surroundings; why parental stress management is essential to the child’s adjustment; how to help children manage stress; and tips for travel and adjustment. Vulnerable Children – Each child’s story is different. Your child’s story began before he or she met you. These early pages may impact you and your child in ways that you have not anticipated. Topics covered include, but are not limited to: general characteristics and needs of children awaiting adoption; the in country conditions that affect children; effects on children of malnutrition, relevant environmental toxins, maternal substance abuse, and other genetic, health, emotional, and developmental risk factors; and data on institutionalized children and the impact of institutionalization on children, including the effect on children of the length of time spent in an institution and of the type of care provided in the child’s country. Child Development & Adoption – Parenting is the most difficult, most important job you will ever have, and it can be even more so when you adopt a child. Topics covered include, but are not limited to, parenting, age and developmental expectations, adjustment, and attachment. Identity & Adoption Identity formation is a complicated process. Adoption, birth family, country of origin, race, and culture will all impact your child. Topics covered include, but are not limited to, Deliberate Racial Socialization, dealing with prejudice, dealing with uncomfortable questions and comments, talking about adoption effectively, how to discuss the difficult truth, adoption throughout life, naming, and information on the long-term implications for a family that has become multicultural through inter-country adoption. Discipline & Adoption – What is discipline and what is discipline not? Certain discipline techniques are not appropriate for families that adopt and other discipline techniques can be specifically helpful for children that have been adopted. Topics include, but are not limited to, specific principles, specific techniques, and when to seek help.

Core Assignments for All MLJ Adoptions’ Families

Adoption & the Law – A video overview of the legal aspects of adoption 7 Insights & 7 Gifts Video Series For those adopting a child from a “hard place,” Dr. Karyn Purvis, Director of The Institute of Child Development at TCU, offers “Seven Insights” and “Seven Gifts” for parents and caregivers to help your child overcome the effects of trauma, neglect or abuse and to aid in your child’s journey of healing. Videos can be found here. Cultural Exploration & Essay – Each adoptive family is required to independently explore the culture and heritage of the country from which they will be adopting. While this assignment may take some time and effort, the gift that it will be to your child is priceless. The information included in this assignment will help you prepare to travel and help your child throughout life. Knowing as much as possible about history, culture, and experiences is helpful in forming identity and self-esteem. If you are not a current MLJ Adoptions’ client, but would like to take part in our Adoption Preparation Education program, please contact Nikki for more information. Former clients of MLJ Adoptions are always welcome to return to these classes for a refresher at any time.

Culture Courses

These courses are all included without cost as a part of the Adoption Preparation program at MLJ Adoptions. A Culture Course is required for all MLJ Adoptions’ programs.

Afro-Caribbean/Black Culture – How can you prepare for your child’s burgeoning identity and help them in the process, especially when you don’t “match” with your child? This class will cover ideas and strategies and provide a list of resources for transracial parents. Required for all parents adopting from the Democratic Republic of Congo or Haiti. Latin American/Hispanic Culture – This two-hour class is geared for parents who are adopting from Latin American countries. The class seeks to provide parents with ethno-racial awareness by examining cultural expectations and the landscape of parenting transracially. Required for all parents adopting from a Honduras, Mexico, or Nicaragua. Eastern European Culture – Required for all families adopting from Bulgaria or Ukraine. Samoan Culture – Required for all families adopting from Samoa.

Additional Educational Opportunities

These courses are all included without cost as a part of the Adoption Preparation program at MLJ Adoptions. Certain courses may be required based on the country program, child you intend to adopt, or family characteristics. From Infertility to Adoption – How did you arrive at the decision to adopt? In this two-hour class we examine loss and grief related to fertility and how infertility impacts parenting. You don’t want to miss this. Creating a Lifebook For Your Child – Lifebooks are created to help adopted children tell their own story before and after the adoption. Lifebooks help children place adoption within the proper context of their total life experience. Join other adoptive parents in understanding the need for lifebooks, what a lifebook is not, understanding the importance of lifebooks as a lifelong process, and discovering the difference between a lifebook and a journey book. We will help you identify the components of a lifebook and even develop some pages of your own adopted child’s book. Strongly recommended. Nutrition: Nurture, Health & Behavior – Food is the body’s fuel and one of the most basic ways that we provide nurture to our children. Malnutrition, sensitivities, allergies, and food preferences can impact a child’s behavior, thinking, and emotional functioning. This class will introduce you to research surrounding nutrition and equip you with ways that you can interpret cravings and start to shape your child’s behavior using food. Bring your questions and examples of your families common meals, snacks, and ingredients. Taught by Brooke Randolph, LMHC. Afro-Caribbean Hair & Skincare – Discuss what is natural hair. Learn about natural vs. commerical products in children’s hair care, including simple home hair recipes and product suggestions for both natural and commercial products suggestions for children. Learn about washing, detangling, braiding, twisting, how to properly apply accessories, the different types of accessories, as well as what/what not to use, style preservation, and damage repair. Demos and breakdowns of various basics will also be included. Encouraged for all adopting from the Democratic Republic of Congo or Haiti. Blog Submission – Write a 200-700 word essay appropriate for posting on the MLJ Adoption’s blog and submit here. Independent Study – Choose an appropriate (non-fiction) adoption book and turn in a written book report, at least three pages in length, on what you have learned and how you will apply this to your family.

Elective Educational Opportunities

These courses are not included in the fees for MLJ Adoptions’ clients. Courses on these topics may be recommended or required by your Home Study Coordinator, Education Coordinator, or Program Director. You may elect to utilize these courses or submit verification of completion of a similar course through another entity. It’s a Jungle Out There! Taming Lions, Catching Monkeys, and Surviving Stress like a Zebra – Adoption, adjustment, and parenting are all full of stressors, and you cannot be the best parent possible unless you manage those well. This online introduction to stress management course is available here. Certificate required $95 Marital Enrichment – Using the Prepare/Enrich program, you and your partner will complete a survey and meet with Brooke Randolph, LMHC, to strengthen your relationship as a couple and a parental team. Please contact here for cost estimate. Tweens, Teens, and Beyond: Parenting Your Adopted Child – Navigating through the crucial ages of tweens and teens can be challenging for any parent, but adoptive parents face unique challenges that only other adoptive parents are likely to understand. This interactive six-week email course taught by Judy Miller fits into your busy schedule. ContactJudy to register. Class limit is six. $99 Personal, Effective Communication – Using the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, you will explore your personal communication style and learn how this will effect communicating as a parental team, communicating with your child, and/or with your child’s biological family. Contact Lauren for more information. $100 per family (cost includes MBTI inventory).

For Families Not Adopting Through MLJ Adoptions

If you are not involved with one of our adoption programs and would like to take individual courses via Anymeeting teleconference or at our offices, please enroll here. If you are interested in participating in our Adoption Preparation Education program and receiving a certificate of completion, please contact Nikki for more information.