How Important is Post-Adoption Support?


post-adoptionMLJ Adoptions talks to many families each week that are just beginning to research adoption. Many of these families ask questions about current programs and process, length of wait for placement, and other questions that have to do with the past and the present, but I don’t think that I have had any questions about the future or what happens “after” the adoption.

Why is it important for families to ask what their agency’s role is after the adoption? Parenting is difficult in the best of circumstances, but there can be additional struggles with parenting children with hard beginnings. Children who have spent time in an orphanage and/or have experienced trauma and neglect may require additional care from their parents. I encourage families to ask a different, but still important question: “Who is going to be there for me after the adoption?”

Families often dream of their adoption ending in a “and they lived happily ever after” scenario. They often feel the adoption journey is the difficult part and once they bring home their child, all will be well. Parenting a child that needs to heal from or overcome their past, may take parenting skills that families weren’t aware of or prepared for. This is why post-adoption support is imperative.

Some children are very resilient and little to no effort will be needed beyond typical child-rearing skills. We celebrate when families end up in that situation. However, most children who join their families through international adoption may have deeper wounds can often behave in ways that don’t respond to our parenting efforts. At MLJ Adoptions, we do our best be there for all families – no matter their post-adoption experience. MLJ is committed to providing post-adoption support as long as necessary. We have worked to compile resources for our families and will continue to work towards accumulating the most current and available resources, as well as offering real time advice and support.

As a parent of children through birth and through adoption, I can say that learning to parent my adopted children has been an ongoing education. I have learned much and there is so much more to learn in order to best help my children become healthy, successful, independent adults.  I have a stack of books just waiting to be read, articles I have saved and online seminars to watch in hopes of gleaning a golden nugget of wisdom for my family as well as for our client families. As an adoptive parent, I encourage prospective families who are beginning to research adoption and looking for an agency to work with to ask the question, “Will you be there for me after I bring my child home, and if so, in what way?”

For more information on our international adoption programs or post-adoption support, please contact us.

Lydia Tarr works as the International Program Director for MLJ Adoptions’ programs in Bulgaria and Ukraine. She is the adoptive mother of four children from Ukraine and was recognized as a 2013 Angel in Adoption by the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute’s (CCAI) Angels in Adoption Program.