By Guest Blogger Katy Tolliver, MSW, LCSW, Post Placement Coordinator at Family Services, Inc.
Family Services, Inc. has been working with adoptive and foster families for 75 years! Over the years, we have supported many families on their journey to become parents through domestic and international adoption. We also work with individual and couples adopting relatives and step-children. We also provide education and encouragement to adoptive and foster parents raising children with unique and challenging histories.
I have a few favorite online resources that I regularly recommend to adoptive and foster families. These web sites specifically focus on the unique aspects of adoptive and foster parenting. These resources have helped parents learn how to best communicate with their kids, build healthy attachment, cope with behavior challenges, support their child’s racial/ethnic identity, and navigate birth family relationships.
Without further ado, here are our Top Five Favorite Online Adoptive/Foster Parenting Resources:
Creating a Family – This web site is a treasure-trove of practical information! Whether you are just beginning to research adoption and foster care options, or if you have been parenting “in the trenches” for years, this web site has helpful information for you. I particularly enjoy the blog and podcasts/radio shows, as well as subscribing to the weekly newsletter, which always has relevant and interesting articles. Recently posted topics include “What Birth Moms Want Adoptive Parents to Know” and “Tips for Handling Picky Eaters when Fostering or Adopting.” There are also active online support groups around issues of infertility, foster parenting and adoption.
PACT, An Adoption Alliance – PACT is a wonderful adoption organization based in California. They have a fantastic library of articles and video clips about a range of topics for adoptive and foster families. Some of my favorite topics covered include sibling relationships in adoption, helping kids form healthy identities, and how to talk about difficult birth family history with children. I love the video clips featuring adoption expert Beth Hall. As an adoptive parent herself, she gives practical, down-to-earth advice to adoptive parents.
Under the “Events” section of the web site, they regularly host online webinars for adoptive families for a small fee. The webinars cover topics like “Living an Open Adoption: Making it Work” and “The Art of Attachment: Using Sensory Strategies as a Key to Connection.”
Center for Adoption Support and Education – This organization has led the nation in training adoption-competent therapists. One of my favorite resources on this site is the nationwide directory of therapists who have received specialized training in adoption and foster care issues. The web site offers pre-recorded webinars on topics like how to help your foster/adopted child answer questions from peers and dealing with difficult behaviors.
There are also handy “Fact Sheets” and articles around issues such as adoption and school, talking to teens, and coping with the holidays. There’s even a list of adoption-related films and television shows with discussion guides for talking with your foster/adopted child.
Adoptive Families Magazine – This online magazine may be the most extensive collection of adoption and foster care articles on the web. If you have a question about adopting, need advice on how to talk about adoption with your child, or need to find a local professional/agency/support group, this is the web site for you. The articles, directories and webinars are totally worth the $25 a year subscription fee. I have worked in this field for 14 years, and I still find new and interesting topics when I visit this web site. Some of the recent articles include “What Being a Foster Family Has Taught My Children” and “The Advice I Wish I had Gotten While Waiting to Adopt.”
EMK Press – While this web site looks a little “old-fashioned,” don’t let that fool you. The information and resources are fantastic. My favorite resources are the free downloadable guides called “Realistic Expectations.” There is a “Realistic Expectations” guide for foster parenting, kinship care, and adoptive parenting covering topics like helping children adjust, taking care of yourself as a parent, and managing difficult behaviors. The web site also has particularly good resources for navigating the school system for foster /adopted children with special emotional or learning needs.
I hope you will find some helpful information for your family on these sites. Do you have any favorite online resources for adoptive and foster families that I haven’t mentioned here? I would love to know about them – please post any suggestions in the comments!
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