The adoption community includes all types of people and families. When we come together, it is powerful and good for our hearts to connect with others whose stories are similar. It’s even more interesting to hear those stories that are different than ours. When you become involved in adoption, there is a natural softening of your heart and an opening of your mind, in my opinion. Here are some types of adoption events you can attend to meet others:
- Walks to honor birth families: There have been several walks or runs in honor of birth families. It raises community awareness and allows everyone to come together in an outdoor setting to connect and do something physical while supporting birth families. One example is the walk held in Utah organized by Tied at the Heart. Another is the “Brave 5K” organized by Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Arlington (VA). Sometimes there will be donations or a fee to enter the race that goes to birth mother resources.
- Agency information meetings/presentations for waiting families: If you’re starting your adoption journey, you can attend informational sessions held by any adoption agency. Sometimes these “pre-adopt” sessions are requirements to enter the agency pool anyway. You can meet other couples new to adoption and exchange contact information. Even if some couples end up choosing a different agency, you will have a way to contact them should you need advice down the road.
- Agency picnics for adoptive families: Once you’re signed up with an agency, usually they will hold a yearly picnic or other events to get all the adoptive families and the waiting families together. It’s a great way to see each year who has adopted so we can hear their stories. Agencies also hold events for birth mothers, but they are typically separate from adoptive family events. Those might include grief counseling sessions, or a birth mother spa day, or dinner.
- The waiting family fundraisers: Many people hold fundraising events as a way to raise money to adopt. Adoption is expensive, and every little bit helps. There can be barbeques or T-shirt sales, really anything to help with funding. Some people also use online donation sites like GoFundMe.
- Retreats: There are several adoptive mothers and birth mothers retreats. It is a great way to not only have a mini-vacation but to also meet others in your situation/stage of life. Feeling isolated is never a good thing, so if you don’t have a community around you that understands adoption, then find one. Some to check out: Tied at the Heart, Woven by Love, and Rejuvenate.
Kristin Anderson is an adoptive mother who lives with her son, husband, and two crazy dogs. She loves open adoption and is always looking for ways to help in the adoption community. You can find her blog at www.lookingforlittleone.wordpress.com