Dear Director: The Value of Connecting to Other Adoptive Families

Dear Director:

I was at back-to-school last night at my adopted daughter’s school. Boy, did I feel alienated and out of place. The other moms were all worried about picture day and being able to access their child’s grades. I am just happy when my 11-year-old daughter gets to the bus on time and has a day with no major behavioral incidents. I see now what everyone has been saying about the value of knowing other adoptive families. But I know none. I just don’t even know where to start meeting and connecting with other similar families.

Please Help!

Dear Please Help:

Did you know there is a neurological imperative for human connection?  It is pretty basic, a survival skill, being with others who will look out for you, but who also understand who you are and what is possibly happening in your life. Being alone and isolated is a prime risk factor for depression, which is probably why we were created to be social creatures and to lean on each other and work together. So you are right there, where you need to be, you just need to find your people.

The SWAN program keeps track of who has support groups and what type of group and when and how and where they meet. There are in-person groups and virtual groups, daytime and evening groups, groups specifically for parents of teen, or teens themselves, or people parenting children with behavioral or attachment issues. I even saw one what was a support group series of “IEP Boot Camp,” where each meeting they would talk about another aspect of the process.

There are two ways to find a group that may work for you and meet your needs. First, you can call the SWAN Warmline (1-800-585-SWAN) and ask to be referred to one, and without an assessment, you can be guided towards a group that will fit you. But, you can also come into the Post Permanency Assessment process, and if you already have, just talk to your Post Permanency Coordinator to help you locate the right support group. We have secret ways of getting information about groups that are happening in your area. And if there is no group that is just right, your Post Permanency Coordinator can connect you with another adoptive family who has gone through what you are going through, and will have your back.

Now go out there and find your tribe.

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