Adoption support groups can be found in many different forms. Some churches have adoption support groups and some adoption agencies offer support groups to their clients. These support groups may serve only one or all members of the adoption triad. One of the more popular and growing type of support group can be found on social media platforms, such as Facebook. There are also places like Adoption.com’s community, which has the largest membership of any adoption community (and it’s free!).
The most important thing to note about adoption support groups, especially those on social media, is that not all support groups are created equal. There are some really great support groups and some really misleading and manipulative groups. Many of the groups on social media that appear to be support groups are really one person behind a computer somewhere who is stating solely his/her opinion and experience. His/her opinion does not equal truth.
It is hard to differentiate on these groups what is sound advice and what is not. You have no way of telling if the stories and experiences being shared are even true. Some groups I have been a member of have gone so far as to manipulate various groups of parents into believing abhorrent myths and practices surrounding adopting. Trust your instincts and seek the counsel of your agency or those who have been through adoption before if you feel something is not right.
In-person support groups do allow for the mask to come off and the true person to be revealed. These groups also allow you to hear from others who have been members longer. Many of these groups will also have a reputation on adoption boards and word of mouth in the town they gather. However, these groups are not immune to controversy or negativity. They are still subject to creating a narrative from their point of view that may not necessarily be based in fact. If it doesn’t feel right to you, seek out the opinions of others or even a different group if necessary.
Regardless what group you are a part of, it is vital to feel the group out and check facts. It is equally as important to keep an open mind and listen to the other members of the triad. If you are an adoptive parent, seek out support groups that also have birth parents and adoptees and vice versa. Being able to hear the perspective and experience of the other side will be invaluable. It will allow you to have a sounding board to see how your actions might affect the other members of the triad and the chance to see things differently.