Whether you are considering becoming a foster parent or parent through adoption, are awaiting placement, or are a seasoned pro, finding people with similar experiences is an important part of your journey. You may find that your day-to-day friends and family members don’t relate to your adoption story and you need people to connect with who have walked the same or a similar path. The people I have met as a result of my adoption journey have grown to be some of my closest and most valued friends. There are many support groups available, but how do you find them?
- What is your story? Are you a foster parent? Do you have a kinship placement? Are you interested in domestic or international adoption? You can reach out to social workers, your placing agency, or people in the community to seek groups that have a similar background as yours. If you are still in the waiting phase, the adoption professionals you are working with may have other waiting families they can connect you with for support during the passage.
- Face to Face? Do you need to interact directly and have friends that you can meet up with, or is the computer easier for you? Determining what type of group atmosphere you are looking for will help you. The first support group I joined was online, but they were also a local group to me, so I’ve been able to attend monthly meet-ups and frequent play dates with the kids in the group. A group like that can fit the needs of people and provide interaction and support for all members of your family.
- Variety. Do you love to learn, hear stories, and share your experiences? You can find groups that encompass all types of adoption, or groups that narrow in on specific aspects like transracial adoption, international adoption, open adoption, kinship adoption, and more. Online communities exist in forums, chat rooms, social media, and websites.
- Online. A keyword search of the type of support group you are looking for will turn up many results. Whether you enter a keyword into your search engine, visit our Adoption forums, or go on Facebook to start looking, you will find there is something for everyone. You can find open community pages, closed groups, and secret forums. Ask around and find one that is well-monitored and provides not just support, but ethical adoption education. With adoption being an emotionally charged topic, finding the right group sometimes takes time, but yours is out there!
Adoption support groups come in many shapes and sizes. Finding the right fit might take a little trial and error, but once you find one, you will not only gain lots of support and learn a lot, but friendships will form that you never knew you needed.
When I first joined adoption support groups, I was looking for help and answers in how to adopt, but the longer I have been in the groups and the further I have branched out into broader groups, I have found that the insight I have gained from not just fellow adoptive parents, but also from birth parents and those who were adopted, have been a huge added value! These are people you can relate to, who can support you, teach you, and reflect with you. When times are good and when the journey is tough, you have people to lean on without judgement but with understanding.