When my children were small, I lived on a ranch surrounded by woods and wildlife. Other than the chickens and the kids, I had no one to talk to for days on end. I read everything I could find about raising adopted children but in those days there wasn’t much. I had to create my own education. I researched and wrote about teens who were adopted, and recently I wrote a book about modern adoptive parenting. Today there are many more books and education options for adoptive parents. I especially delight in learning through conferences, adoption magazines, one-on-one conversations with other parents, and webinars.
Webinars are wonderful. Organizers such as the Adoptive Families Association of BC sponsor well-known teachers and advocates to present information online. I can relax at my desk, drink coffee, make notes and ponder new ideas. If I’m available for the real-time broadcast I can click in and participate by submitting my questions and reading the questions of others as they appear on the right-hand side of my screen. If I’m busy and can’t join the group at the time of broadcast, I can access the recorded session whenever I do have time, even if it’s ten o’clock at night! It’s amazingly efficient.
Sometimes the speaker outlines concepts that I realize I used while raising my kids. It makes me feel that, even though I may not have known why I was doing it, I managed to do the right thing most of the time. Not always, though! I wish I’d had more educationin those days.
It can feel quite lonely as an adoptive parent when no one we know experiences the challenges we do. Perhaps we aren’t handling the difficulties well? Perhaps others have better ideas? Perhaps our child has drawn the short straw for a parent? The information available through webinars can validate our child rearing practices as well as give us ideas about how to act differently. They can help us parents deal with teachers and school boards, professionals such as doctors and specialists, and well-meaning relatives.
I don’t mean to imply that webinars are therapy sessions. They’re not. They’re information sessions. However, engagement in learning with other parents under the direction of professionals can go a long way to help adoptive parents feel supported. Visit www.bcadoption.com/webinars for a list of all of AFABC’s online offerings. Perhaps I’ll meet you online at the next one.
Marion Crook is the author of Thicker Than Blood: Adoptive Parenting in the Modern World and The Face in the Mirror: Teenagers and Adoption (both from Arsenal Pulp Press).