No one likes to feel alone. When we started the process to adopt, we felt so alone. There are situations that happen in adoption that are, quite simply, unique to adoption. Well-intentioned friends with no experience with adoption frequently made me feel silly when I expressed things that I was concerned about. They didn’t mean to be dismissive, they just didn’t get it. There is simply nothing better than support from someone who gets it.
For me, I have layers of support: local friends, not-so-local friends, online support via social media, and then the really good friends who know me inside and out, and while they may not get it, they are always supportive. Having friends in various time zones comes in really handy! If you aren’t fortunate enough to have personal friends who have adopted, find your tribe. It can seem overwhelming and daunting. First stop, your agency. Your worker meets families like yours every day. She will be able to tell you about support groups through the agency or in your area.
You can contact organizations such as the North American Council on Adoptable Children (NACAC) to find a listing of support groups in your area. Thankfully, we live in an area that’s taking great strides and building awareness of families that are falling through the cracks. More and more agencies are adding support groups in their areas. If you live rurally and just can’t find a group close to you, social media is an excellent resource to find the 24/7 support that every new parent, especially adoptive parents, needs. Stacy Manning offers an online support group, individual sessions, video chats, etc. worldwide.
If you look in the right places, it’s not hard to find support. But I’ll be the first to say, it can feel overwhelming and daunting when you’re in the throes of need. Whether you are struggling through your first wait, have questions about paperwork (and there’s a lot of it!), or are emotional about the potential heartbreak of adoption, there is someone out there who has done it before, has lived through it, and knows exactly how you feel.
The adoption process is unique to each family, each child, and each avenue of adoption. But somewhere, someone knows what you’re going through. Someone has found a way to connect with the child you didn’t think you could connect with, someone has found a great, more-than-competent therapist that can help your family, someone knows which out-of-home placement options to avoid in your area.
Parenthood is hard. Parenting through adoption is hard. But you can have the support you need, no matter where you are. It’s out there. There are those who have been there, done that, and are willing, able, and welcome to share all that they’ve learned through the years.
Karla King is a passionate open adoption advocate, adoptive mom, foster mom, wife, reader, avid creator of food, a stay-at-home mom, and Christian. She loves taking care of her family, supporting others on the adoption journey, and watching the world through her children’s eyes.