Fredericksburg Parent

July 2018

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40 Fredericksburg Parent and Family • July 2018 ask the expert a sk t h e e x p e rt We do this by providing relevant training and ongoing support to assist with specific chal- lenges associated with raising a child who has experienced loss and trauma. We know that children who have been through losses of their caregivers and other difficult experiences will thrive when they've had the chance to build healthy relationships and positive life experienc- es. Helping them requires a parenting style that focuses on connection, trust and healthy attach- ment rather than relying on restriction or pun- ishment of negative behaviors. Parenting a child who has experienced traumatic loss is rewarding and worthwhile, but it is difficult. We developed a comprehensive, long-term post-adoption sup- port program after recognizing the need for ongoing support for adoptive families because a child's reaction to traumatic experiences may be delayed for years or it may pop up during differ- ent times throughout their life. Q: If a family needs post-adoption support, how can they get it? Is it limited to families who have adopt- ed through Children's Home Society of Virginia? Our post-adoption support is available for any family in the Greater Fredericksburg area who has already adopted or has a pending adop- tion. Our support program includes advocacy, locating adoption-competent service provid- ers, providing focused trauma-informed parent coaching, opportunities to connect with other adoptive parents, and adoption-positive recre- ational opportunities through our Kid's Clubs activities. So, the first step to finding support through our program is to call us or email us. In the Fredericksburg region, you can email me at Our program is grant-funded, so it's free to the families we serve. We aim to respond to all requests for post-adoption support within 24 hours. When families have easy access to support from adoption competent profes- sionals, it helps to build healthier families, which builds a resilient community. Q: I understand that every situation and every individual is different. On aver- age, how long does a typical adoption take? In general, if a child is "legally free" for adop- tion, meaning that the biological parents no longer have parental rights and there is no longer chance of reunification, then at the bare minimum it takes six months for an adoption to be completed. This is because a child must have lived with their pre-adoptive family for six months before the court system can approve the adoption. However, there are often many reasons that this process takes longer, such as "Every Child Deserves A Home." That fundamental belief drives The Children's Home Society of Virginia. Chartered by the Virginia General Assembly in 1900, The Children's Home Society is one of the oldest adoption agencies in Virginia. They also offer post-adoption support for all families, whether or not you adopted through their agency. We had many questions about adoption for Anna Yates, post-adoption social worker at The Children's Home Society of Virginia. If you are curious about the adoption process and life post-adoption, be sure to join us during our Facebook Live chat! Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for details. INTERVIEWED BY BRENDA SAPANGHILA Q: What makes Children's Home Society of Virginia stand out? We are a permanency-driven adoption agency focused on providing expert care for youth, (primarily teens and older children) and families throughout their lifetime. Our staff are experts on the trauma that adopted children often experience that can change the course of their development. While many of the children matched with our families are adopted from the foster care system, Children's Home Society of Virginia is not a foster care agency. Instead, we focus on children who are already "legally free" for adoption through bio- logical parents making an adoption plan for an infant or because a child in foster care cannot return to their biological family. We believe every child deserves a family, and we promote permanency and healthy families.

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