Crossroads of America Adoption Conference: Invaluable Peer Support

26
Sep

Yep, it’s here. The Crossroads of America Adoption Conference is happening September 30 and October 1, 2011. There are a host of great topics on the agenda and creative seminars in which to take part. There will be seminars on pre adoption, the process, and post adoption. There will be new faces for you to see and old faces. Information you know and hopefully, some you don’t. There are seminars for those that are active and hands on and ones for those that just want to sit back and enjoy the speaker. You might even see me there! But, why really, should you go? You’re busy, your kids are busy and it is hard to take time out of all the busyness to attend any sort of continuing education. And really, what can an entire bevy of professionals tell you, an adoptive parent, about adopting? You are toiling in those parenting trenches every day.

The real reason to attend the conference lies not with the professionals but with you yourself-and others like you. Peer support after adoption is critical. I always encourage adoptive parents to find other like minded adoptive parents and use them. Use the heck out of them. And be willing to be used by them. No matter how fabulous the professionals are at MLJ (and we have some extraordinary folks) it’s hard for them to always grasp your specific situation.

Time spent connecting with other adoptive parents is invaluable. You will find folks to share information, experiences and emotions, along with parents to rejoice with. You can find adoptive mentors or mentor others. You can use others to dispel myths, instill hope, prepare for crisis or do damage control. You can share innovative parenting strategies and jointly problem solve through a collaboration of experiences. Normalizing what is normal in adoption and setting realistic expectations can make or break those first months of placement.

As well meaning as your extended family and neighbors are, there are situations unique to the adoptive family. Friendship and camaraderie can be found with those in similar circumstances. The Crossroads of America Conference is the perfect opportunity for parents to begin to develop their own network of support. And for continued support, don’t forget to check out the MLJ parent support group held at the MLJ offices the third Thursday of every month at 6 pm. See you at the conference!