It has been over twenty years since I set out to adopt a child. One thing that hasn’t changed since then is the importance of creating your own adoption support network.
With the right support you will come through the adoption journey with your mental health intact and a vast array of professionals and friends you can call on as you raise your adopted child.
So, how do you create your circle of support? Start by keeping an eye out for the free lectures and workshops in your city that are given by adoption attorneys, agencies, and other adoption professionals. These presentations will give you the chance to eyeball the people you may hire to help you adopt without spending a dime. And, while you’re building up your knowledge base, be open to talking with other parents-to-be in the audience—they are often a great source of information.
Do you live in the NY Tri-State area? On Sunday, November 18th The Adoptive Parents Committee will provide you with a mammoth opportunity to spend the day going to workshops, seminars, lectures and panel discussions on adoption and parenting issues.
The Conference is in Brooklyn at St. Francis College. You and your partner may choose to attend different workshops so you get more bang for your buck.
A sampling of the Conference offerings includes “Successful Domestic Adoptions: Agency or Independent Placement,” “Parenting Over 40,” and “An Adoption for Every Budget.” There are many, many more.
Not in the NY Tri-State area? Consider planning an overnight trip to Brooklyn. You can stay at a hotel and spend Saturday exploring New York City’s favorite borough.
If you can’t get to the Conference, all is not lost. You can make the conference come to you: Check out the Adoptive Parents Committee website: www.adoptiveparents.org, look up the workshops that appeal to you and provide the information you’re looking for. Google the speakers, find out all about them, and check to see if they are offering workshops in your state or plan to do a webinar. Or, peruse their websites, then get in touch with them and pick their brains. Adoption folks tend to be very generous with their knowledge.
If you do go to the Conference look at each workshop as an opportunity to learn and make friends. There is nothing quite like exchanging adoption war stories and stories with happy endings with other parents on the path to adoption. It is not unusual for friendships to develop this way. Early on, I met parents who later helped me create an adoptive parents group in my Westchester town. Our kids are grown now but we still like to get together for lunch.
As you create your support network, remember that you are all parents: Some of you just haven’t found your children yet. And you will.
Carolyn Berger, LCSW, is a Founder, Board Member and Chair of the Adoption Advisory Council of The AFA. She has a private practice devoted to Fertility, All Family Building Options and Adoption in Manhattan and Larchmont, NY.