Laurie Q&AQ & A with Laurie

Hello everyone, my name is Laurie Walker, and I am an Adoptive Family Specialist with American Adoptions. I have worked with many birth mothers and adoptive families in my time here at American Adoptions and love being able to watch families form through adoption.

Q. We are thinking of joining a support group in our area. What do you know about support groups for adoption? We also participate some in forum chats online, but find those to be helpful sometimes and not so helpful other times. Do you or American Adoptions have any recommendations?

A. Thanks for asking for input on this subject. There are many great support groups and forums out there, designed to genuinely help members of the adoption triad. However, there are always groups that are formed for the wrong reasons and may be more hurtful than helpful. So it is important that your family and friends are only involved in support groups that are led by knowledgeable and supportive people.

It can be very helpful to be surrounded by those in the community who are going through (or have gone through) similar experiences, as there is something healing and comforting in knowing we are not alone. Many families visit with small groups of their friends, family members or coworkers for adoption support and do not belong to a formal support group, as they feel they get enough support from these relationships.

However, some families are members of adoption support groups in their community or church. Again, these support groups can be educational and supportive, but we caution families to make sure they are joining a positive environment. We all know those people who get together and bring others down, so it is important to find a group that it will benefit you.

When it comes to forums, use caution. There are many people who utilize adoption forums to learn and share information in a positive way. Obviously, forums are helpful when used this way. But like anything on the internet, it is important to know exactly where the information is coming from and exactly who you are interfacing with. Our agency learns often about inaccurate information that is finding its way on to our forum and is causing stress to families we work with.

The internet is fabulous for gathering information and staying in touch, but there are many people who use wrongly. This is evident in adoption scams by those claiming to be pregnant women or even adoption professionals. This is the cruelest way that someone can use a forum. We have found that some people have a negative opinion about adoption or certain adoption practices; often these people do not have an understanding of the process, but they still might make hurtful or destructive remarks. Sometimes, those who are having a hard time with their wait will find their way onto a forum and bring negativity into a group, while those who are satisfied and happy do not often use the forum as much, if at all.

Just use caution with forums and support groups, and always feel free to call your Adoption Specialist to seek clarity about something.