As a parent who has recently adopted a child, you will want to meet other couples that you can talk to. While raising a child is very similar whether or not the child is adopted, there are still unique aspects where adoptive parents can more readily understand your experience.
A great example of this is learning how other adoptive parents talk about the child’s birth parents. Oftentimes, adoptive parents will be anxious about broaching this subject and would like to know what other parents say and how their child responds. Other adoptive parents will be able to provide you with pointers, and you’ll feel supported throughout the process.
Many people are lucky enough to know a close friend or family member who has already adopted a child. When you begin the adoption process, you might find that work colleagues and friends had adopted a child, and you didn’t even know that their child was adopted. This is all because adopted parents are often far more comfortable opening up to people who are in the same circumstances as themselves.
A really common experience is that people begin opening up in ways they hadn’t before. You may have known that a person adopted a child or was adopted themselves, but they never really spoke about it. Once they know that you are going to adopt – or you’ve already adopted – they’ll feel far more comfortable opening up to you.
Your adoption agency will usually be able to put you in touch with other adoptive parents and to suggest good support groups that exist in your area. As you will find out if you attend, there is a great bond that exists between adoptive parents. Exactly the same thing can apply to adopted children as well.
There are lots of great places to meet other adoptive parents online. There are groups on social networks, forums and private emailing lists. Personally, I think that forums and email lists provide more intimacy than social networks. Say something on Facebook, and your whole family will hear it. But say something on a forum – under a cryptic username – and nobody will know who you are. When you are invisible, and speak to people who are going through a similar experience, you have an opportunity to be more candid and to get more candid information in return.
If you live in a part of the country where there aren’t many support groups, the Internet becomes an even more vital tool. But – keep in mind – it’s always worth going the extra mile to actually meet people. And when your child is introduced to other adopted children, they will start to see their own circumstances in a new light.
The ideal scenario is to meet people online and off. Online forums give you a chance to get a broader range of views and experiences. Offline, you can build more meaningful relationships and truly understand other adoptive parents and the lives they lead.