Pre and Post Adoption Services
Offering Education and Support to Adoptive Families
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Ripple Effect Legacies would like to provide solutions for adoptive and foster families nationwide with the latest and most effective healing strategies from a variety of scientifically researched, evidence-based, and faith-based interventions. Our passion is to Equip, Encourage, and provide opportunities to Heal for families who have received the sacred call to bring home an orphan and give him or her the opportunity to become a son or daughter. Parenting a wounded child is not easy. It requires parents to become very emotionally healthy themselves and acquire skills to handle difficult emotions that may arise from the challenges they face. It requires knowledge of different parenting skills than a parent would use effectively with a securely attached biological child. Adoptive and foster families greatly benefit by understanding the science of attachment and early childhood brain development and strategies they can use to bring healing to their children and their relationships within the family.
Counselors at REL have been counseling adoptive and foster children and their families since 2002 and have continually improved our knowledge base and skills in the following specific areas:
- Early childhood abuse, neglect, and trauma
- Brain development, implications of abuse and the stress response
- Treatment of issues that arise from abuse, neglect, and trauma
- Discipline strategies that protect the parent-child bond
- Evidence-based therapies to heal emotional wounds from trauma
- Faith-based strategies to heal the condition of “spiritual orphanhood”
Using the above skills, we offer the following support for adoption and foster care families:
- Pre-adoptive services
- Homecoming support
- Post-placement / post-adoptive services
- Bible studies with facilitated prayer support
Pre-adoptive families spend a lot of time and effort on the process of adoption, which is encouraged and to be expected. Although REL helps link you to services who will help you obtain information about the process and logistics of adopting, our passion is to prepare families emotionally and spiritually, individually and as a family unit, and give them the tools to navigate the process of including a child (or children) who has likely been wounded in a number of ways into their family unit.
Pre-adoption assessment and counseling prepares and educates adoptive families about a variety of factors they may encounter when deciding to bring an orphan into their home with the intention of making the orphan a son or daughter.
Topics of discussion are:
- Preparation and education regarding likely challenges with various age groups
- Attachment and bonding – difficulties that often arise from early attachment being interrupted & conditions that facilitate attachment and bonding with adoptive family
- Why attachment is important (brain development implications) – various physical, emotional, cognitive, and spiritual conditions that orphaned children may present once adopted
- Issues that commonly arise with children from foster care system vs. foreign orphanages
- Assessment to facilitate identification of the strengths of the adoptive family system (ie. Marriage, siblings, extended family)
- Assessment to facilitate proactive addressing of “kinks in the family’s armour” that adopting a wounded child may stress and expose. Identify and address each family member’s expectations of the adopted child
- Discussion of attachment and bonding friendly discipline strategies that will simultaneously address complex behavioral issues while at the same time helping you develop a connection with your adopted child
- Discussion of homecoming strategies that help orphans transition carefully into the family system without over-stimulation and producing more anxiety for the child and family
- Discussion and identification of community supports for post-adoption support
It is our pleasure to link you to various web and community supports for your family as you bring your child home:
Chose by Grace’s Orphan & Adoption Ministry - Chosen By Grace’s aim to inspire and equip Christians to love and serve Christ through loving, serving, and sometimes adopting, the world’s orphaned children.
Association for Treatment and Training in the Attachment of Children - Attach.org’s vision is to be an international leader in creating public awareness and education regarding attachment and the critical role it plays in human development. Their mission is to promote healthy attachment and its critical importance to human development.
Center for Family Development - The Center for Family Development specializes in the treatment of adopted and foster families with trauma and attachment disorder. Located in New York, the Center for Family Development was founded by Dr. Arthur Becker-Weidman to provide answers to questions, solutions to problems, and the expert support necessary for families to thrive in these turbulent times.
Post-Placement / Post-Adoptive Services
While foster parents and some adoptive parents have received MAPP training, REL counselors have learned through many years following placements to their permanency or disruption that any information or parenting skill taught, has to be experienced in the context of relationship, then re-evaluated by each individual parent and child, and then personalized according to their own personality or family’s dynamics for the training to become useful. This learning process occurs by having support from professionals and knowledgeable lay people in the context of real life situations. In short, we believe relationship skills are truly learned and implemented in context of relationship. For foster parents and adoptive parents to make use of any pre-placement training, they must make use of ongoing support and encouragement after a child is placed in their care or custody.
Ongoing Encouragement and Support Groups for Foster and Adoptive Parents are held each fourth Thursday of the month at 742 McKnight Drive, Suite 200, Knightdale, NC 27545. To inquire, please email firstname.lastname@example.org call 919-332-1819.
What to Expect:
We offer monthly support groups for both foster and adoptive parents. During the support groups, we follow this format:
- Pre-meeting voluntary prayer support for those wanting prayer support from facilitator and group (6:30-7pm). If you desire to participate in prayer, please arrive promptly, as we will begin promptly to make the most of the power of those gathered to intercede on behalf of the families and children in the name of Jesus. (See the statement of faith under the Prayer Ministry section of our website, and note this section of the meeting is completely voluntary). Early arrivers for the next segment of the group may sit quietly in the waiting room until we begin the next segment at 7pm.
- Discussion of new therapeutic parenting skill or self-care skill specific for use with emotionally wounded children (15-20 minutes- 7- 7:15pm).
- Facilitated group support for the remaining time (30-45 minutes – until 8pm).
Cost and Logistics:
The fee for the group is $20 per person or couple. You may try to request reimbursement from your social services department or agency. If you desire to do so, we can email a receipt to you to submit to your agency or local DSS. For adopted children, adoption assistance (dispersed by local DSS dept) is usually available and you can choose to apply that resource to the cost of this group.
We send out reminders for the group one week ahead of time, and we only hold the group if there have been 5 individuals or couples RSVP with a deadline of 3 days prior to the group. We send out an email notice 2 days prior to the group to let participants know if we will hold the group. If the group gets larger than 10 total people, we will begin scheduling 2 support groups per month. Smaller groups lend themselves to more intimate sharing and support. If a participant cancels or no-shows after his/ her RSVP, we would highly encourage him or her to be respectful and accountable to the relationships they are forming in the group. For that reason, we would ask you to email the group members in attendance, and let them know why you could not attend. Facilitator will send out follow up emails the day after the group is held to those who RSVP’d with overview of topics discussed.
Note: The reasons for the boundaries described above are that 1) we are holding a support group which is most beneficial for participants if there are several people in attendance who are prepared to give and receive encouragement and support, 2) our facilitators are committed to the groups. They are licensed counselors and highly trained in the specialty of foster and adoptive families and should be paid for their time especially because this group runs late into the evening, 3) Participants in the group who are committed to reciprocal giving and receiving support from others in similar situations desire to make the most of their limited time in the evenings after work as well and deserve mutual respect from other participants and the facilitator.
What does a facilitated group support entail?
Participants are encouraged to share their stories or testimonies, struggles and victories, knowledge of community resources, give and receive encouragement from those who are “in the trenches” with you. The facilitator is a licensed counselor/ clinician with experience and extensive training in the area of foster and adoptive children and families. The facilitator strives to steer discussions away from energy and support draining interactions, such as complaining, competing with details about who has the most disturbed or most misbehaving child, character defaming of the children, and toward the sharing of genuine personal and family struggles as a result of bringing a wounded child into families . Facilitator encourages participants who have overcome or are still overcoming similar situations and struggles to offer empathy, resources, encouragement, hindsight, self-care strategies. Facilitator strives to set boundaries during the group processing to create a very safe environment for each participant to have the freedom to share difficult and positive emotions, family interactions, failures and triumphs. Having wounded children in the home often changes the atmosphere into a “war zone,” and we desire to carve out 1 to 1.5 hour of true safety and support for the heroes who care for, mother and father the most wounded children in our world.
* Facilitator cannot guarantee confidentiality in a group setting; however, each participant will be given a pledge to sign in agreement to be respectful of sensitive information about participants, the children, and other family members. We will suggest ethical guidelines for handling such information. Facilitator must and will assist caregivers with developing a safety plan in the event participants reveal in group information that suggests there is a real and present danger in the home for one or more members.
* If participant desires to consult with facilitator or process a topic related to their child or himself/herself outside of the group, he or she must schedule an individual appointment with the facilitator and be prepared to reimburse the facilitator for his or her professional time and expertise. If insurance reimbursement is applicable and accessible for an individual session, we are able to bill several insurances for mental health counseling. Facilitator may also be able to assist if participants desire family counseling as well. At the present time, East Wake Counseling (a division of REL) is not equipped to do couple’s therapeutic work. We refer couple’s work to an appropriate psychotherapist with that particular expertise.