When Families Need Support

photo of Zia Freeman

Zia Freeman, who leads WACAP's Parent Support and Solutions Group

“Parents give others the support they need — at the moment they need it most,” says Zia Freeman, WACAP social worker who facilitates the organization’s Parent Support and Solutions group. “And then someone says the magic words. ‘Hey, we also went through that!’” which makes all the difference.

Last year, WACAP helped nearly 250 children in need of a family come home. About 30 percent of these kids were age 5 or above. As more and more children waiting for a family grow out of their toddler years and into their teens, more and more families who adopt children within this age group have asked for a place to talk about their needs as parents. The Parent Support and Solutions group led by Zia Freeman is just one of the ways WACAP has responded to that need.

If you drop by one of the monthly support meetings, you’ll find adoptive parents of toddlers to teens as well as families in the process of adopting, all taking turns listening and sharing. The room buzzes with energy as families offer the depth of their experience, provide resources, consider fresh solutions, and discover the invaluable support of their peers.

Here are just a few reasons why the group draws over 100 people on average each year, according to Zia:

  • In addition to the clinical perspective WACAP offers at the meetings, families uniquely help each other with their varied experience and rich ability to understand what others are going through.
  • Through the support they give to each other, parents get what they need, including education, emotional awareness and release.
  • Laughter, tears, honesty, relief, transformation, company, perspective, celebration — it’s all there for the taking.

Like the conversation, the group’s attendees vary each month. Some parents come regularly, some when they need it, some once. As for the facilitator, Zia comes to each meeting knowing she’ll leave inspired and that “at the end of the day, participants go home with a renewed perspective that they’re not alone not alone in adopting a child who is older, and not alone in their experiences and feelings.”

Zia stands amazed at how families help each other appreciate all over again what makes each child so special while participants do their own growing, too. One week’s conversations may yield a family saying, “We’ve accepted that we might need to let go sometimes”— an insight that moves parents to a new level. Another evening, a different voice may ring, “I felt like I was ready to give up … but I came to the class today.”

 And on the other side of all these conversations, families are stronger.

 To learn more about WACAP’s Parent Support and Solutions group, contact Zia Freeman at ZiaF@wacap.org or visit our website

 

About WACAP

WACAP (World Association for Children and Parents) is one of the largest and most experienced international nonprofit adoption and child assistance agencies in the United States. Since 1976, we’ve placed over 10,000 children with loving adoptive parents and provided food, medical care and education to more than 200,000 children around the world.
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One Response to When Families Need Support

  1. Becca Piper says:

    I am so glad to hear that this WACAP support group is so active. We have all become so computer oriented, that we often miss the personal connections that can only be made by “logging off.” I feel really strongly about this. Here’s why…my husband and I adopted our first two kids 20 years ago, and two years ago adopted a 9 year old boy and 10 year old girl. When we adopted our first two children, it was before we were all so “online” and we got out and DID things with the adoption community on a regular basis. We made wonderful, lifelong, friends. We had no idea how important that would be, but in 2006, when our then-14-year-old son was diagnosed with leukemia and was hospitalized for most of 19 months, it was our adoption friends who held us together. Most importantly, our son felt loved by so many people. Our son died, and it was awful, but we were blessed to be part of the strongest community ever. I pray tragedy never strikes your household, but if it does, I know the friends you come to love through adoption will be there for you. Hats off to WACAP for facilitating this group, and to the families that prioritize it.

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