November is National Adoption Month – a time to celebrate the beautiful families brought together through adoption and shine a light on the many kids in foster care still waiting to find their forever homes.

As an adoptive parent myself, I believe it’s also important to recognize that the adoption journey is never-ending – and, thanks to Children’s Home Society of Florida, neither is the support.

Families that adopt from foster care know the joys and challenges that accompany parenting kids from hard places. Being my children’s mother has been the most rewarding experience of my life.

Each one of our children is unique, and watching them grow is beautiful. I have rocked teenagers in my arms while they slept. I have tucked in and read books to each of my kids. We love our life, and every challenge has bonded us closer as a family. Our kids know they are loved without conditions. They know we do not expect them to be grateful to us for being their parents. They know we are the lucky ones.

Our children came to us from a broken and painful past. Adoption is built from loss, and that loss is grieved throughout your journey as a family. You must have a support system. Children’s Home Society of Florida has been a part of our lives from the moment we became parents, helping my children heal from trauma and supporting our family. When we became a family, CHS became a part of our family too. And we’re not alone.

Our adoption journey will continue because the core issues of adoption never go away. You must have support. I have personally worked with families who try this road alone; they feel that love will be enough. Love is absolutely a main ingredient, but we need more than love. We need a toolbox full of supports, education, behavior techniques, and people to point us in the right direction. CHS has been all of that for us – and so many others.

More than 100 local families each year find support and encouragement through CHS’ post-adoption support and counseling. Here’s why: Without support, adoptive families can face heartbreaking odds. Research suggest as high as 25% of adoptions experience a disruption. CHS refuses to accept those statistics for our community. That’s why they offer one of the best post-adoption support programs in the state: to empower families to forecast, prepare for and overcome challenges that can arise after the adoption is finalized.

I advocate for CHS because my family benefits daily from their impact – and because I know I’m not alone. CHS has helped my family so much that I now help other families, as I teach the certification classes for prospective foster and adoptive parents.

The challenges these families will face are not uncommon, but they can be hard, overwhelming and lonely. Thankfully, navigating the way to help isn’t.

No parent, child or family should feel alone in their struggles to find the right support. CHS is here to create stronger forever families on a path to lifelong success.

We join our community in celebrating our families created through adoption – and we will continue to support these families for years to come.