Adoptive Parents Establishing a Support System: #1 Always be prepared.

In order to establish a strong support system families must first make an effort to always be prepared. The more we are able to take care or our families needs in the event of an emergency the more stable our lives become. Establishing a support system is not unique to adoptive parents every family is better off if they have a firm and clear support system in place. As adoptive families our goal is to establish our support system while riding the roller coaster of the adoption process .

The first requirement of forming a support system is to establish a record keeping and information system in your life. It can be simple or very organized as long as it works for you and your style. I tend to use a simple spiral notebook for everyday notes and doodles and keep a day planner where I stuff business cards and write notes. I am not Very organized but everything has a spot and I can find it when I need it. The truth is that with a new member of the family there is going to be a bunch of papers and notes and appointments to keep. Getting organized and finding a system that works for you is something to start now.

Potential adoptive parents should contact their health insurance provider and find out what the policy terms and conditions for adoptive children are and what the process of adding an adopted baby or child consists of. Health insurance providers may have a wide range of conditions and exclusions . Employer provided health insurance will offer the services the employer has enrolled for. Asking questions early will avoid surprises later.

Families adopting a child from the foster care system can add a pre-adoptive placement to their personal insurance plans. Some insurance companies may not be aware of the federal mandate for foster children so adoptive parents may need to inform the contact person handling the health insurance plan. Children adopted from the foster care system should have state or federal provided health coverage and families may add an adopted foster child to their personal health insurance as a primary coverage and use the state or federal health coverage as a secondary healthy insurance provider.

While parents wait for an adoption match it is a great time to check the list of providers your health plan considers preferred. Interview as many pediatricians, dentists, optometrists and therapists as you feel you need in order to have these professionals ready to meet the needs of the baby or child placed in your family for adoption. Take time to talk with each and let them know about your adoption plans and line these services up before your baby or child moves in to your home.

Visit the local hospital and find the urgent care centers in your area. Know the driving directions to the services in the event you need to take the child for emergency or urgent care. Keep records in a date book or some other method for emergency use.

While waiting for an adoption match anxious potential adoptive parents might spend a few lazy Saturdays keeping their First Aid and C.P.R. training current. All parents should keep their training in First Aid and C.P.R. current and always be prepared for an emergency.

Getting organized and ready is a core part of building a support system for your family. Always be prepared is a motto that will serve parents well and make life less risky. Training and planning as well as education and information only makes us stronger on our own and less dependant on the outside support systems we may need to establish.

Point This series of articles will address establishing a support system for new adoptive parents and families.

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For more information about parenting special needs children you might want to visit the Families.com Special Needs Blog and the Mental Health Blog. Or visit my personal website.