Adoption STAR is known for its incredible adoption education program. Founded by an educator, Adoption STAR specializes in providing pre and post adoption educational opportunities. As a Hague Accredited Provider, Adoption STAR’s education program will more than fulfill international adoption requirements. In addition, those exploring a domestic adoption will fall in love with the educational opportunities provided for them as well.
You have not even adopted and yet this is a critical time to help you explore who you are and how the decisions you make now will affect who you are as a parent.
Pre-Parenthood Adoption Education is a part of the Adoption STAR home study process. Though non-clients of the agency can contact the agency directly to see if there are openings in upcoming educational sessions.
Pre-Parenthood Adoption Education will give you the opportunity to discover your own strengths, examine the influences in your life, and speculate and dream about your future. Not everyone has thought seriously about themselves as potential parents, specifically potential adoptive parents. Pre-Parenthood Adoption Education allows you to take a first look at the responsibilities of adoptive parenthood and the ways these responsibilities affect every aspect of your lifestyle. It introduces you to some basic principles of child development, and how you the parent, can begin sharing your child’s adoption story with him/her.
Many of the skills learned in the Pre-Parenthood Adoption Education curriculum are about feeling comfortable talking about adoption. These skills will be helpful in relationships with other people, not just with your child. Pre-Parenthood Adoption Education provides you an opportunity to think and learn about important aspects in adoption. It allows you to explore issues and areas of personal feelings when contemplating being an adoptive parent.
The five Pre-Parenthood Adoption Education classes are listed below. They are offered either during 5-week evening sessions or during weekend sessions throughout the year. Please review the Adoption STAR events calendar for upcoming class dates.
Each class will have a facilitator and some of the classes will include guest speakers. Each class will give ample time for questions. You will be encouraged to participate and get to know your classmates.
CLASS ONE: Talking about Adoption – Social, Emotional and Values Development
This class introduces the importance of developing a comfort level with “talking about adoption” with your significant other, family members, friends and most importantly, with the child you adopt. It also identifies when and how to communicate with your child about adoption based on their age and developmental level.
CLASS TWO: Child Interest – Considering Child Referrals
This class explores what you need to know before you accept an adoption referral, and what questions you should ask when you hear about a birth mother or a child in need of adoption. The class educates you on what an Apgar score means and what might place a baby at risk for developing special needs. The class also explores alcohol and substance abuse as well as potential genetic issues that may be passed down by the birth family.
CLASS THREE: Open Adoption – Creating New Relationships
This class investigates the benefits of an open adoption and discusses how it affects birth families, adoptive families and adoptees. In addition, this class introduces the various levels of openness in adoption and helps to dispel the myths and fears often associated with the term.
CLASS FOUR: Child Identity – Quality, Security and Permanency
This class examines common identity issues with adoptees and includes a discussion of the issues related to adopting a child who looks different from his/her adoptive parents, even when the child is of the same race. It also explores adopting a child of a different race and/or culture domestically or internationally.
CLASS FIVE: Adoption Law – Promoting Education
This class is facilitated by a local adoption attorney affiliated with Adoption STAR. The attorney will explore the legal rights of adoptive parents and birth parents. Domestic, out of state and international adoption laws will be discussed.
In addition to the classes listed above, Adoption STAR provides a list of optional pre-adoption classes open to clients and the community-at-large. Some classes require a small fee, though most are free of charge. Below is a list of classes that Adoption STAR features or has featured.
Seeking Parenthood – Coping with Infertility:
This class is for women and men who are experiencing (or have experienced) infertility. It offers an opportunity to gain awareness and understanding of your emotional reactions to infertility and to living in a fertile world. The class also provides an opportunity to explore the concept of resolution and life after infertility. This class is free of charge and open to anyone who has experienced recent diagnosis, fertility treatments, and/or pregnancy loss. You do not need to be a client of Adoption STAR to attend. Contact the agency for upcoming dates.
Coping with Infertility – You Are Not Alone:
An eight-week professionally led series of classes for couples or individuals at any stage of infertility. The series will provide members with the opportunity to meet others who are experiencing infertility in a safe, supportive atmosphere. With the guidance of a psychologist, members will have the chance to share feelings, exchange ideas and information, learn coping strategies, and receive emotional support. There is a fee for this series. Contact the agency for more information.
Infertility Support Meeting:
Families who have experienced infertility truly understand the rollercoaster of emotions that result. Adoption STAR recognizes that adoption “cures” being childless; it does not “cure” infertility. This support meeting will offer an opportunity to discuss your grief and receive support from others who have also experienced the pain of infertility.
Waiting Families Group:
This group provides an opportunity for prospective adoptive families to receive support from one another during their wait to adopt. Families who have successfully adopted after “being in your shoes” will be invited to share their journey in adoption and to offer tips for surviving the wait.
Baby Care Class: Caring for Your Baby:
Facilitated by a pediatric Physician’s Assistant, this class focuses on newborn care and is geared specifically to the waiting adoptive parent. This class walks you through diapering, bathing, feeding, etc. Though baby care classes are offered elsewhere, none focus on the uniqueness of adoptive parenthood. Adoption STAR has prepared a baby care manual and a class especially for you – the adoptive parent.
Exploring Your Adoption Options:
This class provides information on many adoption options in addition to the agency’s traditional adoption program. Information on international adoption, older child adoption, and other domestic adoption avenues including the agency-assisted private adoption track is provided. Open to clients and non-clients of the agency.
Adoption Forum: Getting Your Family Involved in Your Adoption Journey:
This class is for our clients who have finished the home study classes. You are invited to bring one or more family member and/or friends with you to learn more about adoption. Now the important people in your life will be introduced to many of the subjects you have already learned about! A panel of adoption professionals will introduce the process that you have gone through to receive a home study, including the classes. The panel will address questions from your family members and friends.
For Adoptive Father’s Only:
Men and women handle stress, adoption and parenthood differently. This men-only workshop will seriously and with humor address the gender differences while adopting and parenting.
The following are a list of just some of the class topics that Adoption STAR features or has featured. Not all classes are offered annually as some are initiated based on need and requests. A few classes require a small fee, while most classes are offered at no cost to clients and non-clients of Adoption STAR.
Raising the Adopted Child:
This class will highlight how to talk to your child about adoption, developing an “adoption friendly” support network and addressing the special developmental needs of the adopted child and the adoptive family.
Financial Planning for the Adoptive Family:
This class is facilitated by adoptive parents who are a financial advisor, accountant and tax attorney. They will introduce applying for the adoption tax credit, other adoption benefits, and financial planning for your family’s future.
African American Hair and Skin Care Class:
This popular class is geared to parents raising African American and Biracial children and facilitated by hair care professionals who provide hands-on demonstrations to care for children’s hair and skin.
Transracial Adoption Panel:
This class will feature members of the adoption triad discussing and answering questions regarding transracial and transcultural adoption.
Growing In Your Transracial Adoption:
This interactive workshop will address common questions and concerns and provide ideas for how to grow a healthy transracial family in our society.
Growing in Your Open Adoption:
This class will focus on developing a positive relationship over time with your child’s birth parents. Topics will include how to talk with your child about their birth parents and how to effectively address issues that may arise.
Growing in Your Adoption of a Child with Special Needs:
This class will feature special needs professionals and parents of children with special needs and will help you learn to navigate the special needs system, including but not limited to medical care, special education, and other support services. The class will also deal with the emotions in finding out and raising a child with special needs.
What We Have Learned So Far: Panel of Adoptive Parents Of School-Age Children Speak To New and Waiting Adoptive Parents:
This workshop will feature adoptive parents who will address how adoption has changed their family and their lives. From dealing with unexpected comments to bonding to everyday parenting, this interactive workshop should not be missed. The evening will also focus on the developmental and cognitive spectrum adopted children go through.
Raising An Only Child: Should We or Shouldn’t We?
This workshop is for families who are raising an only child as well as those considering raising an only child. The interactive workshop will feature a panel of parents who strongly believe in the positives of raising one child and those who chose to raise more than one child. The workshop will also address the pros and cons of considering adopting again. Fee is $5.00 per family.
Telling Your Child Their Birth Story:
This class provides information on sharing your child’s adoption story with them. It will provide advice on how to address difficult to share birth family background information as well as how to answer your growing child’s questions about adoption.