A number of years ago, we formed an adoption group at Forest Knolls Elementary School, inviting families with adopted children to get together on an informal basis a few times a year. For a few years, my daughter and I also gave presentations to her class about adoption, reading a storybook about adoption and leading a discussion. The group we formed gradually expanded to include families of younger children from the neighborhood. We met for a few years, usually over a potluck dinner at someone’s home, and the bonds we formed have proven to be long-lasting. For our adopted children to know each other and see a kindred spirit has been comforting and empowering to them. We have also been able to share information and resources among ourselves.
One local resource is CASE (Center for Adoption Support and Education), based in Burtonsville, which hosts an adoption “Carnival” every year, and provides year-round activities and counseling to the adoption community. Two specific programs are very effective for school age children: one is W.I.S.E. Up!, a workbook for children ages six to 12 which empowers children to confidently answer a range of questions about adoption and decide when, if, and how to share their story; the second is S.A.F.E. at School, a manual for teachers, educators, and school counselors which provides strategies to create a positive, adoption-sensitive environment at school.
Our adoption group represented both domestic and international adoption and spanned a wide range of ages. Now that some of our children have moved on to middle school (where we have formed another school adoption group; our principal is an adoptee himself), our Forest Knolls group is in need of new leadership and membership. I would encourage anyone who is interested to reach out to others via the various listservs — Forest Knolls Elementary School, Northwood Parents, and NFCCA — to generate interest and recruit new members. In Forest Knolls Elementary School, we had a great ally in the school counselor, Mrs. Cygnarowicz. One year during November (National Adoption Month), we put on a display of books in the library related to adoption, and my daughter read a piece about adoption on the morning announcements. Also, the PTA was very supportive in letting us advertise our get-togethers in the school newsletter.
For adoptive parents in the community, I highly recommend joining up with others for support and friendship. You’ll be glad you did! ■
© 2013 NFCCA [Source: https://nfcca.org/news/nn201302h.html]