Hundreds of adoptions were finalized in the month of November. And although that’s a pretty busy month for adoptions, they happen all year round. Deciding to add to your family through adoption is a commitment unlike any other — and sometimes we are so focused on all of the work leading up to the adoption that once it’s over, we find ourselves a little lost. If you’ve recently completed your adoption, you may be asking yourself, “Now what?!”
If you’ve not taken a huge sigh of relief, first, do that. It’s a big deal to have finalized an adoption! Take a moment (or two, or three) to enjoy the significance of the event. The time in court might have been brief, but there was so much leading up to that – and it’s important to acknowledge that.
Next, if you’re not aware of and already connected to the post-adoption services in your area, this would be a good time to work on arranging those. Not every adoptive family is going to want or need post-adoption services, but many find them helpful, especially in the immediate aftermath of an adoption. Even children who have been in a stable home environment prior to the adoption can have difficulty adjusting to the “finality” of it all.
If you’re not sure how to arrange post-adoption services, the best place to start is with your Adoption Liaison in the region where you live. Your adoption liaison can help with referrals for services and make sure that your family has a comprehensive post-adoption plan. If you don’t know the name of the adoption liaison in your region, you can refer to this map, or call 1-888-25-ADOPT. There is also a helpful PDF on the Indiana DCS website.
Post-adoption services begin with an assessment to identify both the needs of the child and the needs of the overall family. Your post-adoption team will work with you to determine what type of services you need. For some, it may be a team of people that includes family members and/or friends — people in your immediate circle who may have also been a support for you leading up to the adoption. For others, it may also include local service providers and more “formal” supports who can work with your family to create a plan with actionable goals.
Each family’s post-adoption plan is different. Services can range from behavior health services to support groups to respite, depending on what needs are identified during the assessment.
And remember: you’re allowed to ask for help. Even though many services close out when an adoption is finalized, there are still services available – and there’s no shame or judgment in saying that your family needs the additional support! Your adoption liaisons are available to help you navigate through the post-adoption process, to ensure that your family is successful through the transition.