How Do You Find Authentic Support On The Adoptive Journey?

Author of 4 books, podcaster, parent trainer, wife and mother.

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Is it possible to find people who get it? How do I go about connecting with people who won't judge or criticize me if I'm brutally honest? What about people who will love me and my children even when things get really bad? Where do I find people like that? We've had these questions, and more, over the years. Here's where we've found answers...

I heard the bus pull up at the end of our driveway and glanced at the wall clock. My kids were home from school and I had completely lost track of time. I jumped up to unlock the door and smiled widely at my three youngest sons. My 8 year old hugged my waist, my 9 year old threw his backpack across the family room, brushed off my hug and stomped to his room, slamming the door behind him. My 10 year old rolled his eyes and I put my hand on his shoulder to stop him, “Ok, spill it.” He sighed, “Noah wouldn’t leave him alone on the bus. He kept asking about his ‘real’ brothers and sisters. We asked him to stop but he wouldn’t. Noah asked why his ‘real’ mom didn’t want him and then it was time to get off the bus so we all just left.” “Thanks for telling me, I’m sorry that happened to you guys,” I squeezed his shoulder. He smiled a half smile as he looked up at me, “It’s ok, mom, some people just don’t get it.” In our family, we have 8 children all of whom were adopted. We don’t look alike. That fact is usually lost on us until someone else points it out.

Over the years, our differences have melted together to form a unique make up of family. We are both wildly different and comfortingly similar. Our children all have open relationships with their birth families which leads to an eclectic and joyful make up of aunts, uncles, cousins and grandparents. To us, it just makes sense. To others, our family is confusing, we get that. We don’t mind answering the polite questions others ask. We sometimes feel defeated by the rude and abrasive assumptions. Often we feel like we just want to be around people like us.

Living in isolation is never healthy for anyone. For adoptive families, we often live a life that is on display. The feeling of being watched is the most isolating of all. Sometimes we long to have a conversation using phrases like, “My sister’s sister said…” or “My brother’s grandma visited…” without having to explain the entire backstory. The fact is, we can’t do this without others. We need a strong support community. But how do we find it?

We have found three ways to be intentional about creating this type of community for our entire family, especially our children.

1- Adoption Support Groups.

In our 16 years of parenting, we have attended many support groups. At one point, we knew that our children did best in their own environment and we were able to host the support group in our own home. We connected with people through our church, local department of child services and even our elementary school. We found that these groups were an amazing way to interact with other adoptive families. Our children played with other children who came from similar circumstances. Sometimes these meetings were formal and included training for both parents and children. Sometimes the support consisted of a meal, a few hours at a local playground and a lot of informal conversation.

2- Close Friends.

Forming close friendships is often easier said than done. On our journey as a family, we’ve become close friends with two other adoptive and foster families in our community. When we are together, our children rarely talk specifically about foster care or adoption. They have these unique characteristics in common and they can relax around each other without fear of inappropriate questions or snap judgments. We can also share the worries, hurts, fears, loss and joy that is specific to adoption with others who are walking the same road. Our children especially benefit from having friends they can share openly with. You may notice that I said just “two other families.” That’s on purpose. Keep your circle of support small. There tends to be more understanding and opportunity for connection with smaller circles. Larger circles open up the possibility of misunderstanding.

3- Family Camp.

Family Camps can be found across the country and are often associated with faith based groups or post adoption services. We attended our first family camp last summer outside of Seattle, Washington. At first it seems completely crazy to travel from Indiana across the country to the west coast. Our kids were jet-lagged and crazy. We had already reached our limit of traveling by the time we parked the rental van at the gate of the camp. As soon as we headed toward the registration table, something unexpected happened. Our very introverted, shy children took off…running…with other kids…! Mike and I stood looking at each other with confusion. “What just happened?” we asked each other. Our kids spent the rest of the week hanging out with other adoptees. Each night, we practically had to drag our kids into the cabin. Something beautiful took place, our 15 year old daughter pulled her covers up and sighed, “I love being here, it’s like everyone just gets us.” “I know,” I responded, “Dad and I feel exactly the same.”

Finding a community of people traveling the same road is vital for parents and even more so for adoptees. Our children have found healing through their relationships with peers who just get it.

Have you found this type of support? Why or why not? Share your story with us in the comment section below.

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Mike and Kristin Berry are the Co-Founders of The Honestly Adoption Company and have been parents for nearly two decades. They are the authors of six books, and the host of The Honestly Adoption Podcast.

Sarah Gray

Sarah Gray is the executive assistant to Mike and Kristin Berry. And she is the best in the land. In addition to providing a warm and friendly response to the many emails our company receives on a weekly basis, she also manages Mike and Kristin’s speaking and meeting schedules, and makes sure that team events go off without a hitch.

Nicole Goerges

Nicole Goerges is a Content Contributor & Special Consultant for The Honestly Adoption Company. She works with Mike and Kristin as a recurring co-host for the Honestly Adoption Podcast, and co-host of Kitchen Table Talks, exclusive video content for Oasis Community, along with Kristin. She is a fellow adoptive mom, and former foster parent.

Matt McCarrick

Matt McCarrick is the Content Production Specialist for The Honestly Adoption Company. If you’ve loved listening to our podcast, or enjoyed any of the videos trainings we’ve published, you have Matt to thank. He oversees all of our content production, from video edits, to making sure the tags are correct on YouTube, to uploading new videos to Oasis, to hitting publish on a podcast episode, he’s a content wonder!

Karen Anderson

Karen Anderson is the Community Engagement Specialist for The Honestly Adoption Company. She spends the bulk of her time interacting with, and helping, people through our various social media channels, as well as providing support for Oasis Community members through chat support or Zoom calls. In the same spirit as Beaver, Karen is also passionate about connecting with parents and making them feel loved and supported. Karen is also an FASD trainer and travels often, equipping and encouraging parents.

Beaver Trumble

Beaver Trumble is the Customer Care Specialist for The Honestly Adoption Company. Chances are, if you have been in need of technical support, or forgotten your password to one of our courses, you have interacted with Beaver. He is an absolute pro at customer care. In fact, he single-handedly revolutionized our customer care department last year. Beaver is passionate about connecting with parents and making them feel loved and encouraged.

Kristin Berry

Kristin Berry is the co-founder of, and Chief Content Specialist for, The Honestly Adoption Company. She spends most of her time researching and connecting with guests for our podcast, as well as direction, designing and publishing a lot of the content for our social media channels, blog and podcast. She loves to connect with fellow parents around the world, and share the message of hope with them.

Mike Berry

Mike Berry is the co-founder of, and Chief Marketing Specialist for, The Honestly Adoption Company. He spends the bulk of his time and energy designing and building many of the resources you see within our company, as well as social media and email campaigns. His goal is to use media as a means to encourage and equip parents around the world. He is also the co-host of The Honestly Adoption Podcast.