It’s so hard to even begin to sum up 2020. And, there’s a large part of me that doesn’t even want to reflect back on it! That’s part of the reason Adoption Support Alliance has decided to do a thankful-ness campaign in November. Even though there was a lot of hard this year, it is good for us, as an adoption community and as an organization, to think about what we have achieved in this crazy year of 2020. Research tells us over and over again that practicing gratitude is good for our mental health. So, we are practicing gratitude, not as a way of denying the hard of 2020, but to encourage ourselves to focus on the good.
This week, we celebrate GROWTH. In 2020, we have formed relationships with numerous adoptees and adoptive parents. In our counseling program, we have connected with 15 new clients this year and essentially quadrupled our monthly counseling hours over the course of the year. As a clinician, I was very wary of telehealth and how it would negatively impact my ability to form relationships with clients. But, in 2020, telehealth has been essential in allowing ASA to connect with adopted youth, adoptive and foster parents, adoptees and future adoptive parents. I am grateful that there is technology that allows for us to continue to connect and support others as they navigate their identity as adoptees and how to parent their adopted children successfully. It has allowed us to continue to do the work about which we are so passionate despite the circumstances around us. We are grateful for our growing community.
Zoom has also allowed our adult adoptee support group and our support group for parents of adopted teen to continue monthly. And we are thankful for the opportunity to continue to connect and have welcomed a dozen new members to these groups over the course of the year. In our conversations, we laugh and cry and learn and ask questions and express frustrations together. Oftentimes, there is power that comes from just being in the same space. As one adoptive parent put it, it is rare to have time to talk about adoption intentionally with others who get it. These groups offer this kind of space and we are grateful that so many join us there. We are grateful that these groups have not only continued but welcomed new members.
This is good for me! Like all of you, there have been some pretty unique challenges this year. Challenges that have prevented me from being able to focus on ASA like I would want and challenges that have made meeting some of our goals impossible this year. But, there has been good too. And the growth that we have experienced in counseling and our long-running support groups is encouraging to me. I am honored to walk with new individuals, families and parents this year and I’m thankful for all of you who have joined our community this year or at least continue to follow us in hopes of some in-person community in the future.
We would love for you to join us this month in our thankful-ness exercise. How has Adoption Support Alliance positively affected you or your family? We would love for you to share with us using the hashtags #adoptionsupportalliance and #givingthanksin2020. Your stories will help us focus on the positives and help us create plans for 2021 that continue to help adoptive families through the unique challenges of building their forever families.