The Value of Support Groups

 

Support Groups are very valuable to adoptive families.  This web page explores why.  If you are not already a member of a support group we hope that this page will convince you to become one.  The benefits of doing so are life changing!  Not only for you - but for your children (adopted or biological).  Happy reading.

  • Why Should You Join an Inter-Country Adoption Support Group?  

  • What’s in it for Parents?

  • What’s in it for Children?

  • Options Available

  • Don't Travel the Adoption Journey Alone - Join a Support Group!

  • So What Kind of Support Group is SACAS?

  • Article - "Are Your Kids Really Worth It?"

Why Should You Join an Inter-Country Adoption Support Group?

Inter-Country Adoption presents a range of unique issues and challenges to any family.  Often parents and prospective parents seek out others who understand these issues.  They also seek peer support and friendships for their children.  Support Groups can offer all of this.  However more importantly they offer a level of understanding from those who have experienced first hand the challenges and rewards of forming a family through inter-country adoption.  This community of support can also be a great way for families to manage the challenges of adoption before they emerge into problems requiring professional assistance.  Some more specific benefits are listed below:  

 

What’s in it for Parents?

 

What’s in it for Children?

·         Networking and forming friendships.

·         Validation of experiences and frustrations.

·         Celebration of adoptive parenting.

·         Sharing of resources and ideas.

·         Identifying and solving problems together.

·         Reduce feelings of isolation.

·         A place to go and not be judged.

·         Sharing a common bond.

·         Learning from someone who’s been there.

·         Offering empathy and support to others.

·         Encouragement and affirmation.

·         Making a difference in your community.

·         Having fun!

 

·         Forming friendships with peers.

·         Interacting with children of their race.

·         Feeling less isolated and alone.

·         Increasing their self-esteem.

·         Learning from others.

·         Supporting each other.

·         Enjoying activities and events.

·         Developing understanding of birth culture.

·         Acceptance from others.

·         Acceptance of themselves.

·         Encouragement and affirmation.

·         Developing skills and confidence.

·         Having fun!

 

 

Options Available

When considering joining a support group there are a number of options open to adoptive families.  These include the type of support groups and the focus that those groups have.   

 

The Types of Support Groups  

 

The Focus of Support Groups

·         Country/Program Specific Based.

·         Multi-Country/Program Based

·         Locally Based

·         Nationally or Internationally Based

·         Virtual Groups - Internet Based

·         Playgroups for 0-5 Age Group.

 

·         Frustration Group

·         Support Group

·         Service Group

·         Advocacy Group  

·         Political Group  

·       One or more of the above.

 

It is important to recognise that individual groups rarely operate at a single level.  Many operate on several levels and some of the larger groups are able to provide a more holistic service.  Within every group one will find individual members with a passion for particular areas.  Some will enjoy advocacy work, or lobbying for political change.  Others will enjoy providing support and services to prospective parents and adoptive families.  Some adoption support groups may also identify with issues other than adoption.  Issues such as education, health, and parenting can be part of this wider agenda.  A good support group will always present you with the opportunity to contribute your particular passion to the organisation.  Contact your local adoption agency and ask them for a list of inter-country adoption support groups.  Get on-line and search the Internet for others.  Talk to people and do your research.  You are sure to find one or more groups that will meet the needs of your family.

 

Don't Travel the Adoption Journey Alone - Join a Support Group!

There is nothing that can replace the benefits of belonging to a group of people who share the experience of inter-country adoption.  Or being part of a community of people who care enough about their children and families to invest the effort required in forming a supportive community.  And it does take effort to make such an investment.  However belonging to a support group can enrich your life by providing an environment for continual learning and the development of friendships.  It is also comforting to know that you will have a shoulder to lean on when you need it and rewarding when you can offer your shoulder to others.  Adoption is a life-long journey.  Don’t travel it alone.  Join a group and benefit from being part of a supportive community.  Your children will thank you for it.

 

So What Kind of Support Group is SACAS?

SACAS is a fully incorporated support group that offers a wide range of support services to families with adopted children of Chinese Heritage.  Maybe SACAS is the support group for you.  Maybe its not.  That is just another positive thing about support groups.  You have CHOICE.   If after checking out more about SACAS on our website you decide that our group is not for you, then we sincerely hope you find another group that does meet your needs.  But if you do choose to join SACAS you can expect to have many more choices.  These include: 

·         A choice in those who lead the group through the democratic election of Board Members,

·         A choice to become a leader yourself on the Board or in a Project Committee, and

·         A choice to attend a wide range of events and activities.

 

Now if only that level of choice existed in other areas of inter-country adoption in Australia!  So if you are eligible to become a SACAS member, please surf this website and contact us if you would like further information.  We'd love to have you on board. 

 

 

 

Help us to weave individual red threads into a supportive community.

 

Are Your Kids Really Worth It?
The following article was extracted from an Internet Blog and provides a particularly insightful view of the value of support groups.  The author poses the question "Are Your Kids Really Worth It?" and not surprisingly the answer is "YES!".  If you haven't yet joined an adoption support group - or are questioning your continued involvement - I'd encourage you to read this quality article.

Are Your Kids Really Worth It?
"
Adoption is a unique and beautiful and challenging road. It is a road that a chosen few get to go down. The collective wisdom of the people whose lives are touched by adoption may be the single most powerful 'tool' available to us for leading fulfilling lives.  There are 1000 reasons why people do not participate in a support group and most of them are probably valid. I understand it, I don't respect it, but I understand it. After all, to participate in a support group requires courage, compassion, wisdom and faith. Courage to acknowledge that adoption is unique and therefore carries unique joys and challenges; compassion, to listen and help someone else that you may or may not know; wisdom from living life; and faith in the people and process that there is more to life than what you are experiencing now. The motivation can only come from one place, ask yourself "are my children worth it?"  It's funny, we all never seem to have time for our support groups and the 4 necessary components (courage, compassion, wisdom and faith) take absolutely no preparation.  I understand why we make excuses not to attend and participate in a support group. Because it's hard! Support groups are hard even when they are not focused around something as dynamic as adoption.  How many of us really want to admit that we are different? Different because we have chosen to build a family...against the odds. Different because our lives have birth families in them (whether 'open' or not). Maybe different because our families are multi-cultural. Different because our friends and families just don't get it.  I believe that acknowledging these differences is essential for building healthy families and fundamental to experiencing the adoption journey to its fullest (the ups and the downs). I am fortunate to meet many people at various stages of the adoption process. While I try to honor everyone's choices and not judge their decisions (as I firmly believe myself to be a student of this process...not a teacher) I find it most difficult to communicate with the adoptive parents who say "we don't want to make an issue of our child's adoption, we are not hiding it, but we don't see the need to talk about it or emphasize it either."  If we all have the necessary qualities to participate and benefit from a support group, why are they so hard to come by and so hard to maintain? My conclusion is that the majority of people have not experienced the incredible feelings you get from being in a support group. For example, the feeling of being 'understood' or having one of your stories of heartache help another person through the adoption maze.  For me, [our adoption support group] is a tremendous success. Not because we have 100 people who show up every month. (Sometimes we have five and other months we may have 15). It's a success for me because I like to go every month. The parents (or parents to be) are showing-up. Not just 'showing-up' physically, but showing-up emotionally with their experiences, and showing up for one another and most importantly showing up for themselves. Real courage.  My experience with support groups of all types is that people want them, if they only knew about them. After all, who doesn't want support or insight from someone who has walked the path before them? The key is to draw the people out so they can see a glimpse of the adoption community.  Give your adoption community a reason to come out of hiding. Then remind them why we do this and why we have to tap into our courage, love, wisdom and faith. We do it for our children, and yes, they ARE worth it. - Craig 2003 http://library.adoption.com/adoption/are-your-kids-really-worth-it/article/3399/1.html"