The Circle of Support
We can all likely agree that going through any significant event in life requires a support system. Now, whether or not we call on the willing people around us is often another issue. What we have learned and hold with great care here at Sierra Forever Families is that our adoptive families experience deeper levels of vulnerability as they move through the adoption process. Becoming and being a parent is one of the most rewarding, yet difficult journeys a person can embark on. In adopting, even more complex layers of parenting are added on. Because of all of these factors, we call on our parents to be building a strong support system as they move through this process and we expect them to call on those they identify.
The ‘Circle of Support’ is a great visual to the type of folks that our families need to have willing to be on their side. While they are all great and needed roles, I would suggest ‘The Passenger’ as one of the most valuable. For our adoptive parents, we have learned that one of the last things you need is a lot of “experts” informing you how things should go as you embark on the parenting journey. Rather, our families benefit from those who will help seek answers, allow you cry when frustrated, and will support you in seeking the best solutions.
This isn’t to say there shouldn’t be a balance of also having those you trust challenge you from time to time if they have a suggestion they think would be beneficial; the skill one has to build however is learning to not believe that everyone else’s way should become your way. Our children need parents who can be flexible and adjust their parenting style as the need arises. We also really try to stress our families having the ‘Helping Hand’ folks on stand by. When the nights have been sleepless and the days have been challenging, you need to have that person you can call and ask to bring the family dinner or allow you and your partner to go a date so you can remind each other of why you chose to become parents in the first place (and trust me, you will have those talks).
We as an agency value providing as much as we can to support you in the journey, and we fully acknowledge that you need others as well for the task of support to be complete. Identifying and building your circle can be an ongoing process and we fully encourage our families to do so. As we ask our parents to be ‘The Rock’ for our children, we want our parents to have their own rock as well.