Why is Post Adoption Support Important?

Post adoption needs are vast and varied, just like adoptions! As we know, there is a wide spectrum of what adoption can look like. From open to closed, and everything in between. Because every adoption is different, the post placement supports available must also look different.

Open Adoption Support

Although open adoption allows for direct contact between birth and adoptive families, additional support can be helpful at times. Those relationships are formed over something incredibly personal and emotional. Even with the best intentions, at times it may be difficult for the birth parent or adoptive parent to express their feelings and boundaries. As the adopted child ages, they too might have feelings that are difficult to navigate alone. This is where post placement support from the adoption agency can be incredibly important. They are able to act as a neutral support for everyone involved, validating each person’s experience while also helping them find solutions. They can also help you connect with support groups, resources in the community, and other individuals who may have shared experiences.

Closed Adoption Support

Although open adoption has been practiced for decades, there are circumstances where there is minimal or no contact with the birth family. For these adoptees, post adoption services may be the only way to learn about their history.

We recently spoke with Eli (they/them), a 24-year-old who was adopted through ACFB at birth. Eli reached out to ACFB in 2023 when they were looking for information about their birth family. Eli’s birth mother selected and met Eli’s adoptive parents before she gave birth. They had a few phone calls in the months following placement, but they did not keep in regular contact after that aside from the three letters Eli’s birth mother sent them over the years through the agency.

Eli’s parents felt it was important for Eli to always know about their adoption. They talked about it regularly and read adoption books, like Jamie Lee Curtis’ Tell Me Again About the Night I was Born. Although knowing about their adoption story was helpful, there were still questions Eli’s parents would not be able to answer. Eli wondered what their birth parents were like and what was happening in their lives when they made an adoption plan. Sadly, Eli’s birth mother passed away in 2018. After her death, Eli connected with their half-siblings and was able to learn more about their birth family. While this connection and information was helpful, it still didn’t provide all of the comfort and clarity Eli was looking for.

In 2023, Eli began to struggle more with their adoption story. Knowing their birth mother passed away and they would never meet was really challenging. Since their adoptive parents had always kept in contact with ACFB, Eli decided to reach out to the agency to see if any information was available. From Eli’s original adoption file, ACFB was able to pull details about their birth parents and their experience placing Eli for adoption. Eli was able to read about their birth mother holding them in the hospital, how she talked about her love for her child, and her wish for Eli to have a secure future. While discussing what it felt like to get this information, Eli shared, “It was definitely a relief.” Eli also expressed gratitude towards the counselor who worked with their birth mother for including so much detail.

Although Eli has been able to talk about that time with their adoptive family and half siblings, they aptly pointed out that everyone’s memory of that time is different. Unfortunately, Eli doesn’t have the opportunity to speak with their birth mother about it, but getting this information offered clarity into what that experience was like and what their birth mother went through.

While Eli has known about their adoption story their whole life, it hasn’t always been easy to talk about every aspect of it with their family. Since getting this information through post adoption services, Eli has found it has encouraged them to have more open conversations about adoption with their parents and siblings. It has also encouraged Eli to keep exploring adoption, connected with other adoptees, and continue processing the complex feelings about their own experience.

Post Adoption Support at ACFB

The needs of birth parents, adoptees, and adoptive families don’t end when the adoption finalizes. That’s why ACFB offers ongoing support to all those who’ve worked with us previously. Whether that’s searching for information, navigating open adoption, finding helpful resources, or reuniting with your birth family or the child you placed, we are here to assist. For information on how to get started, feel free to reach out to us at (847) 674-3231.