How To Find Your Own Adoption Support Group

Just like the adoption process is unique for you, so should your support group be.

Maya Brown-Zimmerman October 24, 2016
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When we first decided to pursue adoption, a little over four years ago, adoptive parents warned us the process would be hard. “I can do hard,” I thought to myself. And really, what would be so hard about it? We’d have to answer a bunch of questions, then wait to get “chosen.” “I can be patient,” I thought to myself. “Besides, we have two children to keep us busy.”

HA!

It wasn’t long before friends and family started offering their thoughts on choices we had made. “You’re open to too much.” “You’re open to too little.” “Why aren’t you fostering instead?” “Why aren’t you doing international adoption?” “I know this one person who (insert horrible adoption story). Aren’t you worried about that?” Of course, none of them had adopted before.

Then, 15 months went by without a single contact, not even one of those super-easy-to-identify scammers. Our agency abruptly closed at that point. Many of our friends joined us in switching to the same new agency, and all promptly had placements within a month or two. We were happy for them, but we kept waiting. Lots of friends and family got pregnant. We were victims of a multi-month scam, and struggled with what the ethical line in “putting ourselves out there,” was. I became depressed.

What I needed was a support group of women who were going through the same thing. Our first agency – before they closed – offered an educational group. We were spread all over the state though, and there wasn’t much time to just talk. So, it was up to me to create what I needed.

There are many options available if you’re in the same boat, looking for support.

  1. Perhaps the easiest way to do this is over Facebook. Multiple support groups already exist, by state, by topic, by type of adoption, so you may find what you need this way. If not, you can create one and perhaps pull people you meet from other groups to start growing yours.

  2. If your agency doesn’t offer one that fits your needs, ask your social worker if you could help start one. Maybe it meets regularly, or maybe you create an annual potluck and find a way to keep connections going afterwards (by doing #1, for example).

  3. If you have a profile here on adoption.com, they have a Facebook page for families that you can join.

  4. Adoptivefamiliescircle.com has many support groups through their site.

  5. Search to see what in-person groups may already exist in your area. After we adopted our daughter, we found Adoption Network Cleveland and have tried out their transracial adoptive families group.

  6. You could advertise to create a meet-up, via Craigslist or your local library.

My support was ultimately found via Facebook. I was in the adoption.com group, and one day a woman posted offering to create partnerships of couples in similar situations, so that we would each have a personal cheerleader. I signed up, as did a handful of other women. It didn’t take long before we realized that it would make more sense for us to have our own private Facebook page. A sisterhood of sorts was born, one that has seen us through matches that didn’t work out, bringing new children home, scams, a surprise pregnancy, transitioning out of the hoping to adopt process to find new dreams, and navigating the sometimes difficult parts of open adoption and parenting, not to mention other slices of life: losing a parent, buying a home, and communicating with spouses, for example.

One of the women described our sisterhood; she said, “One of our group’s strengths is that we come from different age groups, different faith groups, and different desires in our motherhood experience…yet we all have a commitment to support each other with no competition. I get so disappointed when I see women desperately competing with/tearing down other women, and that does NOT happen here. In a group where we’ve all felt crushing heartbreak and loss, not one of us would step on another to make our own family’s dream come true. Adoption support groups are helpful, but it probably comes down to the fact that you need the right mix for a group to work as well as ours has. Otherwise, the emotional commitment and the heart would be missing.”

I am so grateful to have found a support group with heart. I don’t know what I would have done without these women in the trenches with me.

Have you created or found a support group?

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Maya Brown-Zimmerman

Maya Brown-Zimmerman is a mother of three, both biologically and through adoption. She has been blogging since before it was cool, and is passionate about everything from open and ethical adoption to special needs advocacy and patient-physician communication. In her spare time (ha!) she's on the board of directors for a medical nonprofit and enjoys medical and crime dramas. You can read more from her on her blog, Musings of a Marfan Mom.


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