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You’re officially a family. The moment you’ve been dreaming of has finally come true. Your baby is in your arms and the adoption journey—the paperwork, waiting, and anticipation—is behind you.

While it may feel like the adoption journey is behind you, it’s really just the beginning. It’s the beginning of a lifelong journey, so there are certain things you should have in place after you adopt your child.

Here are our top 5 steps to take post-adoption:

1. Build Your Adoption Community. It’s important to connect with other adoptive families, for you AND for your child. Having a community to support you when you have questions about certain behaviors your child is exhibiting, or when you need someone to talk to about your relationship with your child’s birth parents is necessary. As parents you will want a community that understands your unique experience as an adoptive family and that you can lean on when needed. The same goes for your child! It will be beneficial for them to grow up having interactions and relationships with other adoptees and families that mirror their own.

This community can be found online in places like Facebook groups, or websites like Meetup.com. Stay connected with your home study agency, as they sometimes have events, or will know about different adoption groups in your area.

2. Have an Education Plan. Keeping your child’s future in mind is key! By finding a program that allows for you to invest and save for college tuition from the moment you bring your baby home, you’re ensuring that they are set up for success. This is something you can ask your financial planner about, or perhaps find an advisor-guided college savings program sponsored by your state.

3. Get Life Insurance in Place. As a new parent, you’ll also need to think about protecting your family in case anything happens to you. For example, if your family depends on your income, they could be in serious financial trouble if you’re unable to work or if anything happens to you.

Considering a life insurance policy is a good way to help guarantee the people you leave behind will receive financial protection after you’re gone. If you have coverage through your employer, but suspect it’s not enough, seek advice from an established financial representative. 

4. Find an Adoption Therapist. Complex and difficult emotions will undoubtedly come up for both you and your child. Feelings of loss, trauma, and grief will surface. It’s truly a matter of when and not if these situations will arise so it is best if you have an adoption therapist on hand.

You will want to find a professional that specializes in adoption, with both experience and training in the field. Ask about their connection to adoption and how many members of the adoption triad they currently work with. You will want to find someone you feel comfortable with, as you may find yourself turning to your adoption therapist for all the big and small moments throughout your child’s life.

5. Talk About Adoption. From day one of meeting your child you should be talking about adoption and telling them their story. The practice will have you sounding seamless, without hesitation in your voice and starting from day one will make it something your child has always known about themselves without it being “a thing.”

Keep adoption a part of the dialogue! Make a comfortable space for it in all conversations from the very beginning. As your child grows and begins to form an understanding around adoption, they won’t have to think twice about bringing up their feelings or thoughts.

Bringing your baby home doesn’t quite signal the end of the adoption journey, rather it opens the next chapter of your lives…a chapter that honors, celebrates, and incorporates adoption on every page! These tips should help prepare you for life post-adoption, and give you insight on some of the tools you should be implementing to help your family thrive.