In her book, 20 Life-Transforming Choices Adoptees Need to Make, Sherry Elderidge writes, “An hour with a fellow adoptee is better than weeks of therapy.” And while the benefit of therapy with a practitioner who specializes in adoption cannot be discounted for helping one move through issues of loss, fear, anxiety, or rejection, there is a great deal of evidence which suggests that individuals who joined their families through adoption benefit greatly from time with other adoptees. What are the benefits? How can parents help facilitate these connections for their children?
Research suggests that educational and therapeutic groups, especially for teens, can be extremely advantageous. Debbie Riley explains, “By providing a social milieu for growth and emotional healing, adoptees can identify with other teens who are adopted and share similar feelings and thoughts about their adoption experience.” (Beneath the Mask: Understanding Adopted Teens) When individuals have a chance to connect with others, to be heard and understood, feelings of isolation decrease. This is vitally important to many youth who, as a part of normal adolescent development, strongly dislike anything that makes them appear different from their peers whether it be their braces or beautiful curly hair. David Brodzinsky, a leading researcher explains, “If adoption makes a child feel different, it can be a source of stress.” The key is to normalize adoption and to help them experience the fact that they are not the only one.
To have a meaningful connection with another person is such a gift. For some, adoption groups are the first experience the individual has where they can share their story or their emotions and look around the room to see people affirming them. They finally are able to look into another’s eyes and see that someone “gets it.” Can you imagine the blessing of this experience? When youth have this opportunity, they feel validated and empowered.
These connections happen naturally for some adoptees throughout the course of their lifetime. Someone takes a risk, shares his or her story, and lifelong friendships are created. At other times, the creation of these experiences has to be more intentional. We must look to our community for support groups, educational programming, conferences, or family events.
This summer, ADOPTIONS OF INDIANA will be providing two different options for families. First, we will be offering our Adoption Connection Club for children between the ages of 7-10. With Adoption Educator, Carissa Maddox MS, participants will examine adoption in the media, talk about adoption at school, and will have fun learning to handle even the most intrusive questions! The Club will meet Tuesday mornings from 9-11 am during the month of June.
In addition, we are thrilled to be offering two versions of “Equipped and Empowered” for teens. Through art, meaningful conversation, and reflection, youth are supported in discovering the truth about healthy identity formation. From 5:30-7:00 p.m. on Wednesdays in June, students in 7th and 8th grade will begin to explore how adoption shapes who they are throughout adolescence. High school youth will dive deeper into this program and further explore these issues from 7:30-9:00 on Wednesday nights as well. We invite you to learn more by visiting our website, by calling the agency at (317)-574-8950, or through an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
You may register for either event by filling out the form below.
Each May, ADOPTIONS OF INDIANA’S Birth Parent Support Network sponsors our annual Birth Mother’s Day Celebration which includes dinner and a ceremony. This year’s event will be held on May 5th at 6:45 p.m. at the Tabernacle Presbyterian Church Parlor located at 418 East 34th Street, Indianapolis, IN 46205. There is not cost for birth mothers and their guest to attend. Please RSVP by calling the agency or e-mail us!
At this time, we are seeking donations to off-set the cost of this beautiful event. We are also asking for contributions for a raffle that is held each year during this event. We are seeking items such as spa services, body wash/lotion gift sets, or tickets to events. Volunteers are also needed to make this event possible. Please call (317)-574-8950 or e-mail Meg Sterchi at email@example.com to share how you would like to be involved. Thank you in advance for your generosity!
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