Post-adoption Services and Reunions

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Introduction

Adoption is a life-long process and as such, the needs of children and their families do not end when an adoption is finalized. The Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) Adoption Division is a resource for ongoing information and services related to adoption. DCFS Adoptions Division created a specialized unit to provide services and support to adoption triad members (adoptive parent, adoptee, birthparent) after adoption finalization occurs. The Post Adoption Services (PAS) Unit has grown over the years to meet the ongoing needs of individuals who have participated in an adoption through Los Angeles County DCFS. Our goal is to strengthen and empower adoptive families, to respond to information inquiries from adult adopted persons and birth families and to provide information about and access to resources for adoption triad members. Post Adoption Services are provided in a variety of ways, including individual and group contact and work with community-based organizations.

Please call the PAS duty line if we can help you in any way: (800) 735-4984. You must leave a message and a PAS duty worker will return your call promptly.

What We Do

Post Adoption Services Unit (PAS) provides help and support to:

Adoptive Parents who are raising children they’ve adopted through L.A. County DCFS by providing information, referrals to resources, individual crisis counseling and support, monthly support groups, family preservation services, assistance with and recertification of Adoption Assistance Program (AAP) benefits.

For many adoptive parents who have adopted a child who has been in the foster care system, whether the child they adopt is a relative or not, exiting “the system” is a goal, and something to celebrate. At the same time, for many adoptive parents, there is a sense of loss as they no longer have the directives, guidance and/or support of the many people and services within the system that were there before the adoption finalized. When adoptive parents contact PAS after finalization, they often expect the PAS social worker to function in the same way as their pre-finalization Children’s Social Worker (CSW). However, this is not the case; the PAS worker does not have the responsibilities that the CSW did in managing any aspect of a child’s “case”. After adoption finalization, all responsibilities rest with the adoptive parent. The PAS social worker can provide invaluable insight, suggestions and support to an adoptive parent who has questions about or is struggling with some aspect of parenting and/or adoption.

Post Adoption Services Unit (PAS) provides help and support to:
Adult Adoptees who have been adopted through L.A. County DCFS, by providing information, referrals to resources, individual crisis counseling and support, non-identifying information about birth family members (if the information is in our case files) and by accepting written consent for future contact with birth parents and siblings.

PAS can only provide non-identifying information to an adoptee about their birth parents. This information could include physical descriptions, medical history and circumstances leading up to the adoption. We are prohibited by law from providing the name, birth date and other identifying information about the birth parents. **Exception: If PAS has written consent from both parties (i.e. the adult adoptee and birth parent), we CAN release identifying information and assist in facilitating a reunion.

Post Adoption Services Unit (PAS) provides help and support to:

Birth Parents who have relinquished a child or had their child removed from them and placed for adoption through L.A. County DCFS, by accepting written consent for future contact with their child and providing non-identifying information about their adult child.

If you are a birth parent who would like to explore relinquishing your infant/child to have them placed for adoption, please call the DCFS Placement & Recruitment unit at (888) 811-1121, extension 2. A social worker will call you back the same or next business day.
If you are a birth parent who relinquished a child many years ago and are now wanting to find that child, PAS can only provide you with general information about the family that was selected for your child. We can only disclose your child’s adoptive name/address if your child has submitted to PAS written consent to do so.

Adoption Reunions

An adoption reunion is the term commonly used to refer to when birth parents, adult adoptees and birth siblings are re- connected. Reunions can be facilitated by DCFS when birth parents and adoptees or siblings have previously agreed in writing to be contacted. Birth parents and adult adoptees are required to sign and notarize consents which are documents that indicate that the birth parent or adult adoptee are open to contact. Sibling Waivers are used to allow for contact between the Adoptee and other siblings. Occasionally, the Court may intervene and order the Department to act as an Intermediary, in attempting to arrange for contact between birth siblings. If you were a part of an adoption through Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services and want to connect with your birth family, please contact (800) 735-4984. If all pertinent members of the adoption have signed agreements that would allow for contact, the PAS unit may assist in facilitating an Adoption Reunion.

Helpful Hints in Searching:

Adoption search and reunion can be a challenging journey with an unknown outcome at the start. Once you have decided to search you should take steps to emotionally prepare for the journey. It is important to keep your expectations of the relationship realistic and take things one step at a time. For example, you may want to have several contacts by phone, e-mail or letter before meeting face to face. Also, you may want to have supportive persons readily available to you as you move forward in the process. Adoption search and reunion is an emotional topic, be prepared for anything that might come your way. Listed below are just a few websites and forums that have information about Adoption, Reunions, and support through the search process.

Additional Information

If you would like information about an Independent Adoption that has occurred in the past, please call California Department of Social Services (CDSS) Adoption Support Unit at (916) 651-8088. An Independent Adoption is one that takes place outside the court dependency system. In this instance, the birth parents and adoptive parents arranged the adoption on their own, often with the assistance of an attorney. If you are not sure if the adoption was handled as an Independent adoption or through Los Angeles County DCFS, please call the CDSS number above or call our PAS duty line so we can assist you.

There are many books for all types of adoptees, adoptive parents and birthparents, which address a wide variety of issues. One important issue for adoptive parents is learning about parenting your adopted child…it’s not just the same as parenting your biological child. We encourage you to seek out books for yourself and/or your child which can help you process and learn about whatever it is your need help with. A PAS social worker would be happy to talk with you, give you suggestions/recommendations, or point you in the right direction.