The Value of A Great Support System

Author of 5 books, podcaster, parent trainer, husband and father.

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Question: what do you do when your child screams profanity at you in public? Or picks up a garden tool and threatens to impale you or one of their siblings? What do you do when your child's explosive behavior, due to reactive attachment disorder or ARND (Alcohol Related Neurological Disorder), embarrasses you in front of their teacher? Or, better yet, what do you do when your child's impulsive choices are so continuous that you feel completely exhausted and utterly alone?

The answer is, nothing! You do nothing. Absolutely, positively….nothing!

Let’s be honest- who are you going to talk to about these things? Who in this world is going to look at you with understanding and empathy and not judgement? Who is going to understand that your son, whom you adopted through foster care, has extreme outbursts of rage brought on by trauma that he suffered when he was in his birth mother’s womb? Who’s going to get the impulsive choices your child makes because she has ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyper-Activity Disorder)? Where in the world are you going to find a person who truly understands that your child is on the autism spectrum, or even what that means?

And finally, where can you find a person who understands what you’re going through because they’re dealing with the same struggles with their children?

We know what it’s like to feel completely alone. We know the desperation of having no one to talk to, or a person who understands what our children are going through. We know the look and feel of judgement! We are the parents of 8 children. Some of our children have special needs. We have dealt with severe behavioral situations, in public and in our home. We’ve been on the front lines of impulsive choices. We cannot even begin to count the items that have been broken in our house over the years.

We understand the loneliness you feel. We’ve been there too.

But, we’ve carried on by one simple, yet profound, thing- a great support system!

Through our involvement in support groups and our current support system, comprised of several adoptive families, we’ve survived the toughest seasons of parenting.

Being part of a support system has provided 3 key things for us:

  1. A sounding board to air our struggles. 
  2. A voice of reason to change our perspective.
  3. The Hope and courage we need to face the next challenge.

We all need a sounding board, especially when it comes to parenting. A good sounding board is a listening, non-judgemental, safe person that you can be real and raw with about your struggles. As you raise your children, regardless of the different challenges you face with them, a good sounding board is key.

A sounding board also serves as a voice of reason when you’re being unreasonable. Our support system (who are also our best friends), have been able to talk us down from some huge “parenting ledges” just by letting us vent, and then gently painting a more accurate picture. Just ask my wife, Kristin, about this one. Our friends travel the same parenting road as us so most of their “reasoning” comes through genuine empathy.

Finally (and most important), we find hope to face the next big challenge we’re sure to face. Through the parenting years, hope is sometimes extremely hard to find.

A good support system is comprised of people who are:

  1. Authentic– you cannot find support from fake people or people with hidden agendas!
  2. Circumstantially empathetic– people who understand what you’re going through because they’re facing similar circumstances.
  3. Loyal– those you are confident will be there for you when you need them the most!
  4. A parent– this helps with the ‘understanding’ bit.
  5. Light-hearted– you need friends who can laugh with you and at you sometimes.
  6. Trustworthy– no one can find support from people who can’t be trusted to keep their details private and not blab it to the world!

Do you have a great support system? What are some other ways they have supported you?

This post was written with much gratitude for John and Nicole Goerges, Ryan and Megan McGee, Jen Dickerson, Sherri Moore, Cindy Kramer, Margaret Madden, Brittany Turner and our beloved families who have been there for us through the greatest parenting struggles. Thank you for being awesome!

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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.