A project that assists adoptive families, organised by the New Families Association, is implemented with support from the Banco di Napoli Foundation. The importance of supporting families during and after the adoption process.
All the documents are stamped and now the child is a son or a daughter in every respect, a child upon whom to to pour all that love, which adoptive parents always have plenty of. Years of waiting and ocean-crossings did not stop them. After a first fleeting encounter in which child and parent became acquainted and some brief stays at hotels abroad, they are finally home. It is a unique and exhilarating experience to witness the completion of an adoption, however, more than a completion, it is also the beginning of an uphill journey.
The first hurdle overcome, the newly diplomated parents are assailed by a thousand questions and often feel disoriented. It was for families such as these that “Families of the heart” was begun in Grazzanise, Italy, the brainchild of the Action for New Families Onlus (AFN), and with contributions from the Banco di Napoli Foundation, The project offers a one-stop free counseling service for adoptive families in a local area that provides expert advice, or simply the opportunity to meet with other families. It also provides free courses in which theoretical classes are alternated with social gatherings to promote an exchange of experiences between families, as well as the possibility of networking with other associations in the area.
Adoption continues to remain a challenge because to this day still too many children are abandoned in institutions, both in the North and the South. It is a challenge that Chiara Lubich wanted to take on when, in 1967, she invited families who followed her to “empty the orphanages.” And that was how a myriad of families with or without children, opened heart and home to children who did not have a family, providing healing for their wound of abandonment.
Mr and Mrs Gravante are responsible for the New Families Project in Campania. They explain: “Through this project we wish to equip families with tools that will strengthen their resources and help them to become world-families, open to the diversity of a daughter or son who comes from a faraway land with both genetic and cultural differences. It is a fascinating process but also demanding, as is retracing the life experiences of a child and helping him or her to make peace with them.”
At the New Families Project – as with all authorised international adoption agencies – it is required to follow up with the family for the first three years of post-adoption, but often this time frame is not long enough. The process of the child’s integration in the new family and his or her inclusion in the social structures of an area, can require much more time. The adoptive families, far from being left on their own, need to have a relationship with other families like them, so that each day they can rediscover the value of their choice and regain their initial enthusiasm as they plan for the future, through a process that is the fruit of sharing.
Stressing that this partnership is precisely what animates the association, Andrea Turatti, President of the New Families Project remarks: “We are also pleased to offer our thanks for the generous participation of the Bank of Naples in this opportunity for the territory of Naples, a region that well deserves it. In fact, of the 850 children who have found a family through the New Families Project, 180 have been welcomed into this region. And it was the maturity of this region that allowed the launching of the project that we hhope to export to the rest of Italy and beyond as a contribution to a more united society. “