24/7 Crisis Pregnancy ONLY Hotline for Maryland/Virginia/DC:

CALL: 1-888-731-6601 or TEXT: 240-600-1106

PWNL (Older Child) after hours counselor: 1-888-955-3339

 

The Barker Adoption Foundation is committed to providing lifelong support to adoptive parents. Our services include offering consultation and assistance as adoptive parents guide their children through early childhood, grade school, adolescence, and beyond.  

New Parent Groups

Post-adoption programs for adoptive families begin shortly after the child is home. Several times each year, Barker hosts a four-session New Parent Group, which offers newly adoptive parents the opportunity to meet others who have recently adopted, to discuss shared parenting and adoption issues, and to build a sense of community. These groups are also open to non-Barker adoptive families. The groups are facilitated by a Barker social worker, and the newly adopted children add special delight to the group.  Always well received by families who attend them, the groups have been instrumental in helping many adoptive families form long-term friendships with other attendees. 

Educational Workshops

Barker offers workshops and training sessions throughout the year for adoptive parents on a variety of topics. Topics of recent training sessions have included:

  • Talking to Your Child about Adoption
  • Creating a Lifebook for Your Child
  • Maintaining the Culture of Your Child’s Birth Country
  • Hair Care for African-American/Black Children
  • Parenting Adopted Teens
  • Maintaining Contact with Birth Parents​

Please check the Barker Events Calendar for updated listings of workshops. If you did not adopt through Barker, or don’t believe you are on Barker’s mailing list but would like to receive information about upcoming workshops, please submit your information here

Individual Counseling

Barker’s counselors have extensive experience in adoption and are available to provide brief or longer term individual counseling and support on a variety of issues that can arise for adoptive parents. These may include exploring how adoption may affect family dynamics, evaluating whether a child’s challenges are adoption-related or part of typical development, helping a child understand his or her adoption story, strengthening relationships in adoptive families, navigating the complexities of relationships in open adoption or after a search and reunion, and evaluating and managing a child’s learning differences and challenges.  

Support and Discussion Groups

Barker offers four after-hours support and discussion groups for adoptive parents:

  • Parents of Adopted Adolescents and High School Aged Teens: Meets on the first Tuesday of each month from 7 to 9 p.m.
  • Parents of Adopted Young Adults (ages 18+): Meets on the second Tuesday of each month from 7 to 9 p.m.
  • Adoptive Parents in Open and Semi-Open Adoption: Meets on the first Thursday of each month from 7:30 to 9 p.m.  
  • Parents Who Adopted Older Children: Meets on the second Wednesday of each month from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. 

All groups are held at Barker’s Bethesda office, and new members are always welcome, regardless of whether their adoptions were through Barker or through another agency. For more information on any of Barker’s groups, please call 301-664-9664, email postadopt@barkerfoundation.org, or check out the Barker Events Calendar

Intermediary Services

For families in semi-open adoptions (who share update letters and photographs on a non-identifying basis), Barker serves as the intermediary with birth parents by forwarding letters, providing updates, and facilitating requests for information. 

Barker also can support those involved in open adoptions, arrangements that an increasing number of birth and adoptive parents are choosing. As in all relationships, complicated or challenging issues sometimes arise, and birth or adoptive parents may feel the need to seek professional guidance. Barker can help them to navigate these unique relationships to maximize the benefits of open adoption for all members of the adoption circle.   

Homeland Tour Preparation

A trip to an adopted child’s homeland is a wonderful experience, and many adoptive families are now traveling either with groups or independently to visit their child’s country of origin. These trips are highly enriching, and yet they can also raise questions and unexpected emotions for both the child and the adoptive parents. Barker offers consultation to adoptive families before they take a homeland trip. Our support is designed to assist parents in exploring both their child’s and their own aspirations, apprehensions, and expectations for the trip, as well as to help strategize with families about how to best maximize their trip experience.  

Homeland Tour to Colombia

Barker facilitates a semi-annual Homeland Tour to Colombia, which is a unique and often life-changing experience for families who adopted their children from Colombia. The trip is geared toward families with teens or young adults ages 13−25 and is designed as an introduction to the child’s birth country, offering opportunities to experience Colombia’s rich culture.

The trip is not only cultural but also designed to integrate their adoption stories and histories.  All participants also have an opportunity to visit FANA, Barker’s adoption agency partner in Colombia, meet with a staff social worker to learn about the child’s personal history, and spend time with other children and staff. They may also visit with expectant mothers who are considering placing their children for adoption. For more information on the next trip, please contact Sue Hollar at 301-664-9664 or by email at shollar@barkerfoundation.org

Read more about our Colombia Homeland Tour here

Annual Conference

Barker’s highly regarded annual adoption and foster care conference in the Washington, D.C., area offers the opportunity to hear from some of the nation’s leading adoption experts and from all members of the adoption circle about their experiences navigating the adoption journey. Adoptive parents have found Barker’s annual conference to be a highly beneficial source of information on parenting adopted children, accessing resources, learning about the latest trends in adoption, and networking with other adoptive parents.