I spent a good portion of my day in adoption workshops yesterday. The last opportunity I had to attend a workshop was in the spring, to listen to new and waiting adoptive parents. I went to hear their questions. I was impressed to hear what changes the adoption community had made to help parents with adoption awareness and advocacy. Those pieces weren’t in place when Mark and I adopted.
There are plenty of professionals (doctors, psychiatrists, etc.) who extend their services to include adoptive families. But many of them are not adoptive parents; they haven’t and don’t walk in my shoes. It has been necessary to need to help them with language and understanding parenting the adopted child. Adoptive parents do this all of the time—advocating for adoption and their families by educating others. Parenting is not adoptive parenting. Parenting adopted children is adoptive parenting, requiring extra parenting tools to address the additional layers our adopted children have. Adoptive parents need to talk and share with other adoptive parents.
Yesterday I had the privilege of spending time with Jean MacLeod, an adoptive parent who is also a writer and speaker. Due to the workshop being held on a work day, the workshop was intimate, more like a conversation. There was sharing among Jean and the group and some “ah-ha!” moments. You can find Jean here. I have her books. My favorite is Adoption Parenting: Creating a Toolbox, Building Connections, which she co-edited with Sheena Macrea.