Blog// LGBT Adoptive Parents

It Takes a Village: Support Systems for Adoptive Parents

Chances are good you have heard the phrase, “It takes a village” when talking about raising children. When it comes to parenting adopted children, utilizing your “village” is incredibly important in raising self-affirmed, resilient adoptees. A positive practice for adoptive and even prospective parents is establishing who is in your “village.” Your village should make up a diverse community of people within and outside of the adoption triad that are there to walk with you as you parent your adoptee.

Here are some key communities that can and should partner with and support you in your journey of adoption parenting:

Adoptive families: Throughout your adoption journey, adoptive families are some of the best resources out there. If you have not already, you should be intentional about connecting with the adoptive families in your community. They need you as much as you need them. If there are not families in your community that have also adopted, consider reaching out to your adoption agency and they can help you get connected to support groups within your state or even online. Having other adoptive families in your village is beneficial as they are walking an adoption journey of their own. Adoptive families can be a wealth of knowledge and can offer pragmatic support and encouragement as you navigate parenting.  

Adoptees: One of the most important groups of people that need to be in your village are actual adopted individuals. Some of the best learning about adoption comes from the voices and stories of those with lived experience. While not all adoptees are comfortable, many are willing to offer best practices and advice and be a resource to you and your family. If you adopt transracially, seek out transracial adoptees. There are many adoptees heavily engaged in adoption education and advocacy that are eager and willing to offer support. Many of them offer 1:1 coaching calls or sessions with adoptive parents. If you are not sure where to find them, reach out to your adoption agency or do some research, as many of these adoptees use social media platforms. 

Adoption agencies: If you have concluded the adoption process you may feel like there is not additional support your adoption agency can provide you or you may feel like you do not need it.  The truth is, many adoption agencies offer ongoing support services for both adoptive families and adoptees and many families tend to opt out. It may be in your best interest to participate in post adoption support services even if you do not feel like it. Some adoption agencies offer support groups for adoptees as well that can connect them with other adoptees adopted through the same agency. This is a really important resource that you should offer your adoptee. 

People of that culture: If you adopt transracially or internationally, one way you can help your adoptee develop a positive self-identity is to allow people of the same race or ethnicity as your adoptee to be directly involved in your child’s life in some capacity. Your adoptee needs to see people that look like them as much as they need to be around people that are different from them to build a positive sense of self. While many communities can tend to be homogenous, this may require work on reaching out and seeking diverse spaces. Representation is a key factor in transracial adoption parenting. As an adoptive parent, seeking out spaces where your child can see people that look like them, especially in positions of leadership, is crucial. 

When it comes to adoption parenting, utilizing the support around you is necessary, and reaching out for resources and help is something to be celebrated. When you adopt, you take on many new responsibilities and having a community behind you that is ready and willing to uplift and encourage you is one of the best things you can do for your family and your adoptee. Even if you do not feel like you need additional support or resources after adoption, your adoptee does and these communities can help you be a better parent. Take time to create and solidify your village, no family should venture the adoption journey alone. 


By: Ramya Gruneisen 

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