Like many other families, my first experience with Northwest Adoptive Families Association (NAFA) was through the Baby and Toddler Care Class. We had finished with all the paperwork and home study and were waiting for a referral. I had a vast interested in improving my knowledge and learning everything I could. Which is a good thing because after our son was placed with us, I was too busy being a parent to spend much time learning about being one. After completing the class I couldn’t say enough about it. In fact, I went back again several months later (when we still hadn’t placed) to brush up on the knowledge that I had learned at the previous class.
Unfortunately my husband was unable to attend the class with me due his work schedule, but I thought the knowledge on baby care I had picked up there was so useful I decided that we should take the classes at the local hospital. They were horrible! Besides focusing a lot of their time on maternity care (hello not pregnant!), much of the information was horribly out dated. In addition, we also got a full dose of the teacher’s opinion on circumcision and co-sleeping just to name a few subjects. Needless to say it wasn’t a good experience, and we didn’t come out of the classes feeling like we had really learned anything new.
That is what I liked about the NAFA class. Information was presented without any maternity information. The information on topics, like those above, was presented in as non-biased way possible. These are the reasons to do this or not to do this – the risks and benefits to either approach. The other great aspect of the class was that it opened my mind to possibilities that hadn’t even occurred to me: breast feeding as an adoptive mom – who knew that was a possibility? Also the sign language for a pre-verbal toddler was a god send when my child reached that stage. I can’t tell you how many meltdowns where avoided by just teaching our son the sign for help. I still refer back to the book I received in class for information on childhood developmental stages.
The information supplied is wide and varied which makes for a very busy day. Book information wasn’t the only thing I picked up. I also learned which baby carrier fit my body (and back) the best. I got to see and try out several different kinds of diapers to see which would work best for our family. The experience I had with NAFA’s class was worlds different from the class taught at the local hospital. I felt that I got so much more value out of my time with their class than I did with any other.