The adoption community is woven with people of all different ages and stories. No one story is the exact mirror image of another. I want to talk today about how we all can give back to the adoption community that often provides great support to us. Below are a few ideas gathered from family and friends:

1.  Be a mentor to someone who is looking into adoption, or already in the adoption process: 

“One way I have given back is by encouraging other potential adoptive parents along the path.  Answering questions, with honesty and openness, about the reality of adoption.” –Megan, an adoptive mom to a ten-year-old son.

2. Start up a support group for adoptive families. The adoption process from start to finish, and even after the adoption is completed, can be a tumultuous time. A time filled with every emotion and emoticon imaginable. The good, the sad, and the confusing. Having a place to bounce off ideas, ask questions, or just sit and breathe for a couple minutes can’t be overrated.

“We started a support group … That group went on to host some trainings for others contemplating or already adoptive parents.” –Cyndi, adoptive mom.

“I offer free in-home support to any parent in need in our area, adoptive or bio.” –Connie, adoptive mom to 9-year-old boy, foster parent to sibling group of 3.

3. If you have experience fostering a child, train fellow foster parents.  Be there as a mentor, to support and answer questions. –Idea from Connie, adoptive mom to 9-year-old boy, foster parent to sibling group of 3.

4. Talk, talk, talk. Talk about how there is a common denominator in adoptive and birth moms. That is the word, and the act, of mom:

“Perhaps the way I give back the most is by talking about that we are all just moms.  I think language is important, and it defines us.  I also talk about the importance of trying to keep kids in touch with their birth families and why.” –Margaret, mom of a 6 year old via adoption, and a mother of a 4-month-old via foster care whom she will soon be adopting.  

5. You don’t have to start a support group; you can attend one. Look for one near your residence, or where you work:

“One way I give back is by attending my local adoption support group.  This is a confidential group where we are able to share our struggles, concerns, and successes.” –Melissa

6. Share your adoption story with other families who are embarking on their adoption journeys. 

“When our children were small we shared our story with families who were starting the process.” – My Godmother Glenda, adoptive mom to a son and a daughter.

7. Shower your advice on others. You know about adoption—don’t keep it to yourself.  Share your knowledge. Knowledge is Power!

“I try to support other adoptive or foster families with advice as much as I can.” –Jennifer, adoptive mom 

8. Take your adoption story to those who are not part of the adoption community. Share your story. Your story is unique, amazing, and deserves to be shared!

“We share our story as much as possible.”- Jennifer, adoptive mom

9. Bring the love for all things adoption full circle. 

“As far as giving back, we try to give old clothes, shoes, and stuff to foster families.”-Jennifer, adoptive mom

“Educate teachers, parents, and other adoptees about possible difficulties that you may have become an expert on by living with the difficulties every. single. moment.- Rebecca, adoptee with FAS