Next session: Spring 2019
What is AdoptionWorks Post Adoption?
AdoptionWorks Post Adoption is a free support group program for adoptees ages five to seventeen. At AdoptionWorks we provide a safe and loving environment where children and teens can connect with others who are adopted. Here adoptees can find the freedom and safety to explore their adoption experience openly. The curriculum for the post adoption support groups has been developed by licensed mental health professionals who are also adopted. These groups are designed by adoptees, as well as adoption professionals, for adoptees and their parents.
Who should come to AdoptionWorks Post Adoption?
We welcome children and teens ages 5-17 who have been legally adopted. Groups are divided into Littles (ages 5‐8), Middles (ages 9‐12), Teens (ages 13‐17) and Adults. All children must be accompanied by a parent or guardian who will participate in the adult support group. The adult group will discuss special needs of their children, explore effective parenting skills and connect with other adoptive parents.
Children must be legally adopted and physically placed in their adoptive family for at least six months. To allow adoptees the freedom to express themselves openly, the groups are limited to adoptees only. We recognize siblings, friends, and extended family are also touched by adoption, but request these groups include adoptees only.
Due to specific DFPS and ethical regulations, we can not accept children with an active, open CPS case. This includes foster care, foster-to-adopt, contested adoptions, rehomed children and DFPS adoptive placement and pending finalization through the courts.
Adoptees must be able to actively engage and cooperate within a group setting. Previous physical violence, aggression, self-harm, substance use, significant developmental delays, and extreme behavioral responses must be disclosed and discussed with the AdoptionWorks staff prior to the in-person interview. AdoptionWorks maintains the right to limit participation based on the overall needs of the groups. Exhibiting the previous behaviors does not preclude adoptees and/or families from participating, but they must be disclosed prior to the interview. Failure to disclose prior may result in immediate withdrawal from the program.
What behaviors are considered extreme?
In an effort to maintain safety for each participant, we will discuss the following behaviors extensively with parents and adoptees before admission. We request these behaviors are stabilized and regulated before entry into a group setting:
- Physical aggression that has resulted in harm to others, self, and/or animals (intentionally or unintentionally)
- Recent psychiatric hospitalization (day treatment, IOP (intensive outpatient), or in-patient within last six months)
- Fire setting
- Expulsion from school, daycare, or facility (last six months)
- Self-harm such as self-mutilation (cutting), hair pulling—resulting in premature balding, eating disorders, substance use (in last twelve months)
- Suicidal ideation/attempts (last twelve months)
- Homicidal ideation/attempts
- Any form of sexual abuse against others (must be fully disclosed)
- Significant developmental delays that may prohibit full participation within a group setting
Are adoptive parents/caregivers required to attend?
Yes. We require all adoptees be accompanied by a legal parent or caregiver (21 years and older) who will attend the parent group weekly. Parents/caregivers can alternate, but must be on-site for the duration of the group at all times.
What will I do at AdoptionWorks Post Adoption?
Licensed counselors and trained facilitators will lead the post adoption support groups with discussions to encourage and support children who want to express feelings of adoption. They will participate in activities such as group sharing, art projects and other activities to help them better understand their adoption.
Each week the groups will focus on a different topic relating to adoption.
- Week One: What is Adoption?
- Week Two: Adoption Loss and Grief
- Week Three: Anger
- Week Four: Bullying
- Week Five: Worries & Fears
- Week Six: Identity
- Week Seven: Trust & Forgiveness
- Week Eight: Putting it all together
How much does AdoptionWorks Post Adoption cost?
Post adoption support groups are free for adoptees and their family. We are funded through generous donors and private funding in order to provide these groups. We ask that each family honor the gift of those who graciously fund this program by committing to attend the full 8 weeks of the program.
When is AdoptionWorks Post Adoption offered?
AdoptionWorks meets Wednesday nights from 6:30-8:00 PM. AdoptionWorks is an 8-week program offered twice a year in the spring and fall.
Where is AdoptionWorks Post Adoption offered?
AdoptionWorks Post Adoption support groups meet at the ChristianWorks Dallas office.
What are the sizes of each group?
In an effort to ensure a meaningful and beneficial group experience, each age group will be limited to six or less. We will try our best to accommodate family size, but cannot guarantee availability for all adoptees within a family at the time of enrollment.
What are the group facilitators’ qualifications?
Each facilitator must apply and have a heart for adoption. Most of our facilitators possess a clinical license or are provisionally licensed and have a graduate degree. They must pass an FBI and Texas DFPS background check. They are required to attend facilitator training that includes adoption education, complex trauma, transracial adoption, effects of institutionalization and foster care, and adoption grief and loss. In addition, each facilitator must be certified in SAMA (restraint) and CPR training through a verified trainer.
What is the difference between post adoption support groups and adoption counseling?
Support groups should not to be confused with counseling and therapeutic treatments. Our team supports adopted children by listening as each child share thoughts and experience, often providing benefits to their healing process. Our team will not diagnose or treat mental health issues during the course of the sessions. Our facilities provide a nurturing and fun atmosphere for children to feel welcome in expressing their deepest feelings. If a child has attended AdoptionWorks Post Adoption and their facilitator feels that he/she might need additional support, we can refer you to CounselingWorks. There we have a variety of licensed professional counselors on staff available to provide individual therapeutic services.
How can my family learn more about participating in AdoptionWorks?
New families are required to complete a pre-application, a formal application and attend an in-person orientation before they are approved to join a group. This meeting will help us to place you in a group that we feel will help the needs of your family. It will also provide you and your family with the information needed to participate. To learn more about AdoptionWorks Post Adoption support groups, please fill out our contact form or contact our program coordinator Nikki Carroll, LPC-Intern at firstname.lastname@example.org or 972-960-9981.