By: Kelly Winters, Foster, Kinship, and Adoption Programs Therapist/Supervisor
November marks National Adoption Month—a wonderful time to celebrate families throughout New Jersey that were formed through adoption. While this is a joyous month for many adoptive families, it is also a time to remember that the road to adoption is often a bumpy one and to recognize the courage and dedication of the children and parents who travel that road.
In 2015, over 140,000 children were touched by the New Jersey Department of Child Protection and Permanency, according to DCF’s 2016 Adoption Report. The vast majority of these children remained with or were reunified with their birth parents or another relative. But for a small percentage of these children — only about one percent — remaining with or reunifying with their parents is not possible.
Children who enter foster care have suffered trauma and experienced loss and confusion, and facing adoption leads to a host of questions. Will I ever see my birth parents again? Are my birth siblings okay? Do I look like my birth family? Where do I get my hair color or eye color or stubbornness or artistic talent from? Will my birth mom or dad be mad at me if I love my adopted mom or dad? Will my adoptive family be hurt if I want to find my birth family?
Adoptive parents have their own set of questions. What do I do about my child’s behaviors? What if my child wants to find their birth parents? How do I help my child feel better? How do I honor my child’s connection to their birth parents?
This is where Robins’ Nest staff and our Pre and Post-Adoption Counseling Services (PACS) program can help support children and families. Our therapists provide in-home counseling to families that specifically deals with the loss that comes from adoption. Therapists help families answer questions and manage a range of feelings while normalizing many of the challenges that they face and providing the tools to be successful. Additionally, the program is provided at no cost to the family, helping to alleviate further concerns regarding finances.
Should you or someone you love be touched by adoption, we encourage you to reach out for connection and support. Adoption is a beautiful thing that we want to celebrate and we want to ensure you have everything you need to celebrate well. To learn more, contact our main number at 856-881-8689 or view the program descriptions on our website.