What does support look like?

Published March 9, 2013 by thefamilyof5

What does support look like to you?

I was asked this question by the local authority at Mondays meeting and I struggled to answer. Its a tricky question I think, its bit like someone asking you what you want for tea when you don’t know what’s in the fridge.

So I’ve been trying to think about what it is I want/need when I’m asking for support and I’ve decided what I really need is somewhere to off load. It can’t just be anywhere though. It has to be somewhere/someone that understands.

My head is a constant whirr of ‘stuff’ its full to the brim and dripping over the sides. Occasionally my brain seizes an opportunity to loose some ‘excess baggage’ and bam before I know what’s going on, I’ve poured my heart out all over some poor unsuspecting passer by that simply asked ‘how are you today?’. I’m sure it won’t be long before a checkout lady in Sainsburys report’s me to some sort of mental health organisation. So what can I do? How can I safely off load without the risk of drowning innocent people with my thoughts or being sectioned in to a mental health institute?!

So off loading to random passer by’s is inappropriate.

I have friends and family I ‘could’ off load too, and I’ve tried this in the past and It didn’t go so well. Mostly because they dont/cant understand, they can only offer me sympathy when what I really need is validation and understanding of my thoughts, feelings and worries. In fact this is partly the reason that many people turned their backs and walked away, they just didn’t understand which left me and them equally frustrated.

So it has to be someone that gets it.

I have friends locally that have adopted that I could share a coffee and a chat with, but offloading my entire brain on to 1 person would be overwhelming and unfair to them, after all they have their own issues they’re facing and I have a lot to offload.

So it needs to be a group of people that get it.

I have a fantastic group of supporters online that I’m eternally grateful to have found, and I’ve received some amazing messages through my blog, you know who you are, but its not enough, not for me anyway, I need/want all of those amazing people that have offered me support right here right now, drinking coffee, sharing some (low fat of course) cake. I want real hugs not virtual ones, I want to be able to look in to someone’s eyes and see their understanding rather than looking at a profile picture of something random, I want to hear their voices and see their faces, I want it all, anything less it seems, just isn’t enough.

So whilst virtual support groups help, they aren’t enough.

So where does this leave me? This leaves me wanting a real life, weekly support group, somewhere I can go and chat, a place where I can share my idea’s, a safe haven where I can air my concerns, a group of people that can validate my fears. People that know, people that understand, people that get it, people just like me. There must be more of me surely, I can’t be the only adoptive parent with a need to talk, talk and talk some more?!

The problem is, there just aren’t any of these support groups local to me.

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17 comments on “What does support look like?

  • I must say the thought of you pouring your heart out over some unsuspecting passerby did make me smile. I know what you mean, some days if someone just smiles and says hello they are in danger. But then you learn that empty feeling of unloading and a blank or uncomfortable face stares back not knowing what to say or worse still they brush it under the carpet with “Oh all children do that”. I recently met with 2 mums I tweet with and it was great. If you want to DM me your location I’ll let you know if I know of anyone near to you.Do your local authority do coffee mornings maybe? A weekly support group would be amazing wouldn’t it.

    Thanks for linking up with the Weekly Adoption Shout Out

    • Yes off loading to strangers in passing is never good is it :)

      Our LA do offer a support group, but apparently its attended mostly by parents of teens so they won’t allow me to attend?! I know!

      I do have twitter, its in my maiden name though which is probably why you didn’t find me. I never ever log in though, I just don’t understand it at all, and believe me I’ve tried too lol

  • It’s hard isn’t it. There is one support group here but they’re all quite cliquey, and it’s not for me. Twitter and blogging is my lifeline, and vital in keeping me sane, but I understand the same yearning for real life people, and real coffee in a real place. Have you thought about setting one up yourself? x

    • I did consider setting my own up group, but how would I find other genuine adopters, how could I keep it secure enough for adopters to feel free to talk and share if I’ve no way of proving everyone attending is in fact an adoptor and not a birth parent in hiding or some other random nosey person! My LA wouldn’t support me and without the support of an official body with their official records, I just can’t see how it could work.

      Blogging and facebook are all that keep me going too! :)

  • I hear you Familyof5! I so wish we had a local group here in Calgary, we are a city of over 1 million people and there is not one support group for adoption, it’s crazy to me! Twitter and blogging are fantastic and I’ve felt validated and heard here for sure (I laughed when I read Sarah’s comment that people say ‘oh all children do that’, if somebody tells me that one more time…!) But something about meeting for coffee in person is so appealing to me too. I’ve often thought of starting one here too but like you point out there will probably be so much red tape…boooo! Maybe one day, until then at least we have places like this to connect:)

    • Absolutely, I’m very grateful for the online support I receive. I too am sick of hearing the ‘all kids do that’ line, its so dismissive isn’t it! Thanks for your kind words, I hope the world see’s sense and realises that adoptive parents need better support! :)

  • We have groups locally but they are ill attended and hard to attend. Better are the family days organised by out agency where kids play with their mids ‘who know’ and parents talk – or ver just nod knowingly’ with other parents ‘who understand’. Online works best for me – those virtual hugs feel good once you get used to them, and they come whatever time of day or night you we need them. Sending one to you for this great post right now. Twitter is a great place to start. I’d like to link to your blog on mine. Mx

    • Your right! At least with online support its available 24hrs a day, there’s always someone about to offer a virtual hug, I do love my online support network, I couldn’t have survived without it, I just wish there was an option of a face to face one too. Its a shame your local group is difficult to attend, I wonder why that is? I have taken the girls to the ‘family’ events that out LA and VA have offered, however they didn’t seem to be structured in a way to allow much time/space for adult chatter really and that’s what I really long for :) feel free too link or reblog anything I write, glad you’ve liked it x

  • I have been wondering this actually with the idea that adopters might get their own funding to spend on support. What exactly would help people?

    Commenting also on the previous post, how stupid can your LA get, the other LA is offering to pay for them to arrange something, and they don’t want money??!

    • I agree! I was totally shocked that they refused the PA’s offer of funding and stated they were unable to provide the services the PA were asking for, seems so wrong doesn’t it!

      If I had the freedom to choose how to spend money set aside for support, I think my first step would be to build us a small bedroom extension and secondly I’d find a specialist adoption counsellor!

  • support for me is a bit like friendships- some are far and wide and some I go to for differing needs – it all takes time – and can be quite fragmented – I do get the oh all children do that, too – and some of my friends I don’t expect to understand – but the key is they know me and are there for me – as for the ones who are going through the same – I am beginning to twit my way around twitter – easier than I thought – and online is great. xx

  • Your post really resonated with me – I really struggle with support for me. I live in rural Scotland and there is just nothing around – I know of one other adopter but she adopted a relinquished baby and we took on an older sibling group – so we have little in common.
    I was having counselling which helped a little but that has just ended and one of the few good friends I have made here has jsut announced she is mving overseas.
    I’m like a leaky bucket, five years ago I was emotional full and secure but I’ve been leaking and there’s not enough going back in to fill me back up.
    I have tried Twitter but can’t “get” it…

    • Oh Claire I so get that ‘leaky bucket’ description! I’m so sorry your struggling to find support, have your LA offer you any support? Could they link you with other local adopters?
      I have my email address on my blog, I’m a million miles (bit of an exaggeration, afterall I’m not on the moon!!) away from scotland but I’m always at the end of an email, feel free to message me if you’d like to chat. I’ve recently joined twitter too if you want to ‘find’ me search for ThefamilyofFive :)

  • Thanks.
    LA sadly not got anyone local and don’t do support groups (distance is always an issue here). I will keep going – just met a lovely friend for coffee and cake :)
    Will take another look at Twitter and look out for you.

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