Congratulations! Completing the adoption process is a tremendous life milestone for you and for your child. It's often the case that the process is so consuming, new adoptive parents focus all their time and energy on it. When it's all over, the future can seem daunting. What do you do next?
Of course, you want to spend plenty of time with your child. Get started on new routines, making memories, and creating the little traditions that build a lifetime of family love. Every family's needs will be different, and there is no one "right" way to prepare for it all.
However, many new adoptive parents find themselves with similar questions, feelings, and concerns. In every state around the United States, new adoptive parent resources have been developed to help.
As a new adoptive parent, it's important to build up your social support network. At the same time, you might need to practice new habits to maintain your mental and physical health while learning your new duties as a parent. No matter your needs, there are options out there for you.
Here's how to connect with the resources you might benefit from:
1. Look for State Post-Adoption Support Services
Every state has its own network of post-adoption support services. These run the gamut from informational sessions with adoption experts to respite care, youth activities, training, and therapeutic support. That means it's a terrific way to get referrals all in one place. While most of the services are provided by private companies, you may also be eligible for certain state-subsidized benefits within the first year after adoption.
2. Contact a Tax Professional About Adoption Tax Credits
Many parents invest a significant amount in the adoption process. Then, they have to spend quite a bit more to ensure the new member of their family is supported in every way. After your adoption is finalized, you might qualify for tax credits and benefits. Benefits are often available on both the state and federal level. These can exempt some adoption-related expenses from taxation and may save you hundreds or thousands.
3. Join a New Parent Support Group
New parent support groups are widely available in most towns and cities. While some groups are exclusively for adoptive parents, most of these groups’ welcome members with any type of family background. Attending a meet-up before joining is usually the best way to discover
whether a group is a good fit for you. Plus, you just might make friends for life who will cheer you on during your parenting journey.
4. Explore Counseling Opportunities
When adopting, many couples do some counseling together to work on relationship and communication issues before the big day. Whether you are single or coupled, however, counseling can be helpful. With new family obligations come new emotions. New parents experience intense love, but can also be troubled by anxiety and doubt. An experienced therapist creates a safe, constructive, non-judgmental environment to explore feelings.
Last but not least, your adoption lawyer can continue to serve as an advocate and ally. When you move forward as a family, be sure you discuss your goals and concerns with your adoption attorney. Through years working with hundreds of families, legal experts involved in adoption learn a great deal about local resources.
Whether you are on the brink of completing your adoption or just getting started, Jennifer Fairfax is here to help. She is an experienced adoption attorney who has worked with the most trusted organizations for families in Maryland, Virginia, and Washington DC.
For help and guidance from an expert who cares about your family, contact us today.