One of the most effective sources of support, wisdom and guidance for an adoptive parent is a support group. Although family and friends may be supportive of parents by adoption and their children, they may not truly understand the rewards and unique challenges surrounding adoption. Getting together with those who have been in the same situation can create a lasting bond that can lead to new friendships! Whether parenting for a number of years or just starting to build a family through adoption, support groups provide adoptive and permanency planning parents with access to a network of people who share similar experiences.
Funded by Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services, the ACO is honoured to trek across the province to deliver the eight sessions of Pathways to Permenence 2 course to adoptive, kinship and customary care families. Inevitably, at the end of the course, families have a great need to keep the personal connections going.
Thunder Bay was no different, with many families eager to start a support group when the first Pathways offered in the area finished. After a few hiccups, the families were able to come together and create a "Mom's Group", including face-to-face meetings about self-care and family outings. The group has continued to grow, accepting many more families from across the permanency constellation, and are now launching a Youth Group next month!
The success of the Thunder Bay support group shows that with perseverance and strong connections any area can create a place in which to share experiences, worries and joys with like-minded people!
Support groups can choose to have contact through face-to-face meetings, email, social media and other avenues that suit their schedules. This can include fun family outings for both parents and children! It's all up to you!
Are you interested in starting or joining a support group in your area? The ACO is here to offer support group assistance to help families find an existing group or start a new one in any area in Ontario. Supporting the development of a Provincial Parent-Group Network is one of the ways that the ACO is helping to build the village of supports around around adoptive, kinship and customary care families in Ontario. Our dedicated Parent Liaison, Sylvia Gibbons, is open to help you find, develop, share and build a group! Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you want support in your group area!
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