Whether you are a brand new foster or adoptive family or have been on this journey for years, the one thing you need above all else is a community of support. I remember the swirling fear and anxiety when we brought our daughter home for the very first time. She was a scared, angry little girl who spent the first seven years of her life in an orphanage. We brought her across the ocean where she knew no one, did not understand the language and was terrified of our little dog. Our family, jet-lagged and exhausted, was overwhelmed by behaviors we had never before experienced. I remember lying on my bed sobbing and feeling so alone.
In the depths of my struggles, I had friends who understood what I was going through and reached out to me. They supported our family with meals, taking our older kids out for a fun night, and encouraging us along the way. Through the months and years, we have experienced difficulties and heartache on this adoptive parenting journey and we continue to need the wrap-around strength of our friends. I am so thankful for the community of support we have through our church and through the ministry of OCA.
Find your Tribe
It is important to find people who truly understand how trauma affects a child and can affect your entire household. One way we found on-going support is through our monthly OCA Connect group. OCA Connect groups are a great way for you to find a like-minded understanding community of people who will encourage you along the way. Each Connect group is facilitated by a family who is on the same journey and a professional who has experience in social work or counseling adoptive families. OCA currently hosts groups in Louisville, southern Indiana and Lexington. We are expecting to expand into Radcliff and Bowling Green this year.
I am blessed to have a community of emotional support within my church family. There are several families who have adopted both internationally and through foster care. We get together monthly at our OCA Connect Group, but we also find time outside of this group. We spend time praying together, encouraging each other and building friendships. I cannot parent my adopted children without my tribe of friends!
Seek Counseling or Therapy—for yourself, not just your child
When your child is in foster care or adopted through the foster system, therapy and counseling are frequently recommended for your child and covered by your insurance. However, counseling is most often not covered for you as a parent and it can be expensive. Many parents suffer secondary trauma as they care for kids from hard places. There is no shame or guilt in admitting you need someone to help you.
At OCA we receive calls weekly of families struggling and needing someone to help them. Because of the great need for family counseling, OCA recently added this service for a small fee. Jonathan Butler is on our staff and is a licensed Family and Marriage Therapist who is also a TBRI Practitioner.
If you find yourself needing support of a group who understands, find our monthly Connect Groups here.
If you need family counseling, contact Jonathan Butler at email@example.com.
OCA is here to serve your family and help you find the support you need!