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Post adoption: what now?

By August 20, 2015
(Photo courtesy of Bethany Christian Services via Facebook)

(Photo courtesy of Bethany Christian Services via Facebook)

International (MNN) — Families go through the adoption process, and adoption agencies prepare people for the unexpected: a sick child, a difficult journey, developmental delays. But there isn’t much for “After the Bliss.”

Kris Faase with Bethany Christian Services is the Senior Vice President of Clinical Services. She explains, “When we adopt a child and bring that child into our family, we want so much for that child to integrate and meld right into our family and just become part of the fabric.”

The reality can be startling. Faase says as the challenges emerge, some adoptive parents might be asking themselves, “‘What did we get into? No. We need to love this child.'” She adds, “We also often bring an expectation even though it may be hidden, that ‘they’ll just be happy, and they’ll attach to us.'”

Sometimes, doubts and worries surface, and instead of seeking help, adoptive parents may try to tough it out because they worry that an admission could get them branded as unfit or incompetent parents. They think, “We’ve been telling this agency and these social workers that we’re going to be a great family. We can do this. Of course we’re prepared!” says Faase. “It’s very hard to go back and say, ‘Ummm….maybe not so much.’”

Each child that walks through the adoptive process comes in with unique gifts and abilities and also some challenges that manifest in the form of behaviors. “One of the first things that we run into with families is that these kids are angry; they may have behaviors that we don’t understand, and that sets up conflict almost right away.”

(Photo courtesy Bethany Christian Services)

(Photo courtesy Bethany Christian Services)

What then? If it’s past the one-year mark, adoption support has gone away. But adoption is a lifelong journey. Where do struggling families turn for help? Faase says, “A lot of the resources that we’ve developed are because we know it’s hard to make that call and say, ‘Things aren’t going so well,’ or ‘I don’t know how to handle this.’ Sometimes it’s even ‘I’m at my wits’ end.'”

For one thing, says  Faase, Bethany offers the Lifelines quarterly magazine. The articles cover a wide range of timely subjects and help adoptive families learn how to deal with some issues or recognize them before they become problematic.

If a more one-on-one approach is needed, “We also have a post-adoption contact center, because we know it’s hard to make that phone call. We have an adoption-competent clinician. She’s available to families to help them navigate some of those challenges and maybe identify resources in their community.”

Bethany Christian Services is committed to preserving families. (Photo by Bethany Christian Services)

Bethany Christian Services is committed to preserving families. (Photo by Bethany Christian Services)

Conflict isn’t the only challenge that comes up for adoptive families. “One that we commonly hear about are identity questions and struggles that kids who are adopted may face differently than kids who are biologically born into a family,” says Faase. The common theme, she adds, is community. Everyone wants to belong somewhere. “Post-adoption support is one way that we don’t go it alone but we access gifts from God with other people who understand, or who can come with compassion, knowledge. God reveals Himself to us in so many ways.”

Whether you are an adoptive parent, a birth parent, or were adopted yourself, Bethany’s staff is dedicated to supporting you and providing useful information through their services.

The journey doesn’t end when the adoption is finalized. In fact, it’s just beginning. If you need help, or just want to explore a little more about what kind of support is out there, click here.

One Comment

  • Ricky Sikes says:

    We have 8 adopted children from backgrounds of abuse. Each one reacted to their abuse in different ways, and all those ways were challenging. Of those 8 two are mentally handicapped. I spent long hours in prayer and seeking God’s wisdom, strength, and love for each one.Three grew up to be Christians who married Christians and are raising their children to follow the Lord, The two special needs, now adults, never eat without praying first, love to sing to Jesus, are learning sign language songs to perform at church, and are joys to be with. Our oldest two went away from the Lord, the youngest was the only one who never made any positive changes in her attitude or behavior. She was 7 1/2 when she came. We had to have her put into a residential program with the state because she got involved with drugs, sex, and drug dealers. She put the family into danger. Our oldest daughter came when she 13,and was adopted at 15. We couldn’t be more bonded in love if we had been biologically related. Our second daughter was 12 when we adopted her and she is a joy as well as the mother of 4. Our youngest son has 4 boys, 3 with special needs, is in the military and they are faithful believers. Every child is different. Every one has serious issues. I always kept all the information about their bio-families, and even kept in touch with the siblings. I saw many of the siblings become Christians. My kids have good relationships with their bio- sibs. God did all this even tho’ I have heart problems and other health issues, and my husband has a mental problem. God is the Lord of the impossible. He can give us all the strength to do what He calls us to do.

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