There are adoption support groups for adoptive parents as well as birth parents, and there are also adoption support groups for adoptees. Each member of the triad deserves a safe individual space to talk about issues, thoughts, feelings and experiences unique to them.
Adoptee support groups are particularly important for adult adoptees who grew up in the era of closed adoptions, when adoption was sadly not spoken about. Adoptees who struggle with not knowing much (or anything) about their biological families can often benefit from the sense of connection and community that support groups for adopted adults can provide.
Even younger adoptees who do have an open adoption may benefit from this type of support for adopted children, as it can be a good way to get to know other adoptees and to talk about adoption more openly.
General Adoptee Support Groups
Every adoptee is going to have unique needs and feelings toward their adoption, so it’s important to do careful research and find the groups and organizations that are the most beneficial to you. For general support, the following groups and adoption forums for adoptees may be a good place to start*:
- Adult Adoptee Support
- Adoptees Connect
- I Am Adopted
- C.E. (Adoptee Circle of Experience)
- Inner Clarity LLC Adult Adoptee Support Group
- Adopted Adults Support Group
- Adult Adoptees Support Adopted People
- Christian Adoptees Support Group
International Adoptee Support Groups
The experiences of international adoptees can vary widely, so the support groups for internationally adopted adults will likewise be varied to deal with these different experiences. Whether you were adopted transracially, want to connect with adoptees from your same birth country or adoptees who were adopted later in life, are searching, or want to share other experiences specific to your adoption journey, there’s likely an adoptee support group or adoptee forum that addresses this. Some international adoptee support groups and resources that you may find connection with include*:
- Asian Adult Adoptees of Washington
- Adopted Vietnamese International (AVI) Community Page
- Adult Korean Adoptees in Minnesota
- Ethiopian Kids Community
- Ethiopian Adult Adoptees
- Global Overseas Adoptees’ Link
- Korean American Adoptee Adoptive Family Network (KAAN)
- ASIA Families
- Eastern European Adoption Coalition, Inc.
- Heritage Camps
- Adoptee Bridge
- Filipino Adoptees Network
- Colombian Adoptee Support
- Transracial Adoption – International Adoption
Foster Care Adoptee Support Groups
Sadly, there are few post-adoption emotional support resources for adults who were adopted through foster care. However, adults who were in foster care as children can create their own adoption support groups for adoptees specific to foster care. Some adoptees may also benefit from these resources*:
- Support for Foster Kids
- United Indians Native American Foster Care Support Group
- Connecticut Alliance of Foster and Adoptive Families
Support Groups for Adoptees of Color
Adoptees of color may also be transracial adoptees, international adoptees or foster care adoptees, but some people find comfort in adoption forums for adoptees where others can specifically understand their racial experiences. This specific form of adoptee support can give you a safe space to discuss race and adoption. Adoptee forums for POC and additional resources include*:
- Pact, An Adoption Alliance Private Facebook group for Adopted and Fostered Adults of Color
- Native American Foster Care resources
- Adopted & Fostered Adults of the African Diaspora
- Black Adoptees
- Black Adoptee Support and Education
- Transracial Adoption Perspectives
- Transracial Adoptees of Color
- Adult Adoptees of Color
Social Media Support Groups: A Word of Caution and Some Etiquette
Unfortunately, depending on where you live, you may not have the option to attend an in-person adoptee support group, so online forums or social media groups for adoptees are all that’s available. Online forums can be a great tool for connection, but they also have a few drawbacks.
It’ll come to no surprise to you that not all of the information you can find online is going to be factual. If you have any experience with social media, you’ll also know that it’s not always the best place to go for calm, rational and supportive discussions.
There are always going to be hateful and angry people online, and for people who are feeling emotionally vulnerable and seeking support or comfort regarding an issue as personal and sensitive as their adoption experience, this can be frustrating at best and damaging at worst. So here are a few general pieces of advice about social media and adoptee support forums:
- If you’re feeling more hurt than helped by an adoptee support group, it’s time to leave.
- Try scrolling through some of the posts and comments to get to know the people in the group and the overall tone of the discussions, and then decide if it’s the right fit for you.
- Consider what you’re looking to gain from a support group, and if you find you’re not receiving what you were hoping for, try something else.
- Try not to compare your journey, feelings and experiences with other adoptees’ — everyone’s experience with adoption is equally valid and everyone progresses through emotions at their own pace.
- When you share your experiences, remind others that this is purely your experience with adoption, and that there is no right or wrong way to be an adoptee.
- Remember that everyone is looking for comfort and positivity, so don’t be negative toward others or their views in what’s meant to be a helpful and supportive environment.
- Be empathetic and kind toward others — they may have had a different experience with adoption than you, and that experience is just as valid as your own.
Other Tips for Adoptees Who Need Support
A few additional notes and resources for adoptees seeking support:
- Prefer to find support groups that meet in person near you? The American Adoption Congress has a list of adoption support groups by state if you don’t like the adopted adults forum format.
- You can find (or create your own) more specific in-person support groups through Meetup. There are already quite a few adoptee support groups through the organization, including online discussion forums.
- Consider seeking counseling or therapy with a professional, preferably one who has experience talking with adoptees or specializes in adoption. Talking about and working through your emotions one-on-one with a professional is often very beneficial. An adoption therapist may also be able to put you in touch with fellow adoptees if you’re looking for connection.
- If you need help, please reach out. Adoptee support groups aren’t enough to tackle depression or mental health issues, so contact a hotline, a professional, or someone you trust if you’re experiencing a moment of crisis.
Adoptees, like all members of the adoption triad, may need post-adoption support. The adoption community has a long way to go to improve the accessibility of post-adoption resources for adoptees who need support. Share this to help spread the word!
*Support groups are community-run and are therefore subject to change. We’ve done our best to include groups that are firmly established, but we apologize for any defunct groups or broken links related to these changes.