General Discussion Meetings
General Discussion Meetings provide a safe place where people can share their feelings and experiences, get support from their peers, and learn from others’ perspectives. The meetings have an open discussion format and are attended by anyone with a connection to adoption or foster care, including adult adoptees, birth parents, siblings, adoptive parents, those that have experienced foster or kinship care, or DNA discoveries such as misattributed parentage or donor conception. Professionals are also welcome to come and learn from the shared perspectives of the constellation members.
Why are these groups needed?
We believe adoption is a complex, lifelong, and intergenerational journey for all those whose lives are impacted by it. These meetings connect and empower individuals impacted by adoption, kinship, foster care, and DNA Discoveries and provide a source of healing, understanding, and learning. Recognizing that a unified voice is a strong voice, we advocate for truth and honesty on behalf of adoptees, who wonder where they came from and why they were placed for adoption; for birth families, who have never forgotten the child; and for adoptive families, who deserve to have their questions addressed honestly. We recognize that everyone has a right to know their genetic history. By bringing these groups together, we learn from the experiences of each other and have the opportunity to explore and process our own journeys.
What is the scope of this group?
This peer discussion and support group is not meant to replace conventional therapy, but rather serve as additional support on your personal journey to integrate your experience. The focus of this group is the emotional aspects of our journeys. For those involved in the process of search, one on one guidance and support as well as technical expertise and assistance are available through our Search & DNA Assistance Program.
These are virtual meetings led by trained, volunteer facilitators using the Zoom platform (which can be accessed through a home computer/laptop, tablet, or mobile phone) and will require an internet connection or phone data connection. Pre-registration is required and can be completed by finding the link for the meeting on our calendar and following the prompts for registration. Four meetings are held monthly:
- First Thursday from 7-9 pm ET facilitated by JJ & Rosemary
- Second Thursday from 7-9 pm ET facilitated by Kim & Denice
- Third Thursday from 7-9 pm ET facilitated by Dottie & Estes
- Fourth Thursday from 8-10 pm ET facilitated by Barbara & Dan
How do attendees describe their experience at this group?
Click HERE to see more testimonials from General Discussion Meeting attendees.
“It's good to hear from other people in the same situation I am in. As a birth mother, I never thought I would see my son, but he found me 3 yrs ago. It was great to meet him, but it brings back a lot of memories I had suppressed. After 50 yrs I still feel guilt and remorse. It’s good to hear how other women are handling this.”
“Have learned so much about all different adoptee experiences, so helpful to me as a birth mother. And when I talked about my experiences to the adoptees, they communicated to me how helpful it was to them, which of course made me feel that the whole experience was helpful to all.”
“It provides a platform to hear and talk about topics that people only in the triad can relate to with those who can relate. The talks have opened up new food for thought and are always a highlight in my month.”
“ANC has helped me more fully understand others' experiences & perspectives around adoption. ANC’s facilitated discussion meetings helps me reflect, lifts me up & reminds me I’m not alone. There are always powerful “take-aways” shared by participants.”
“How much space do you have? Traci (Adoption Network Cleveland Program Manager) helped my maternal family find me and then helped me figure out who my biological father was, which I had resigned myself into thinking would never happen. Traci has been a sounding board for me and I'm so incredibly grateful for her. Even though I usually don't talk much in the discussion meetings, I always leave feeling validated and that's huge for me.”
“Having buried adopting family trauma for 68yrs, learning my ideas and instincts and ability to heal and forgive can be adapted when education from this organization is attended.”
“I am learning other people's perspectives in the adoption triad, and have utilized resources that have helped as well. I appreciate the support I receive throughout my journey.”
“I have a healthier perspective of myself as a birthmother.”
“Adoption network has helped me find my sons and through these meetings I have the courage to keep trying.”
“Found my people - found people that understand my situation - don't feel so alone.”
“Great group able to understand some things from different perspectives.”
“The monthly meetings have provided our family with support and advice throughout the adoption process.”
“It has helped me feel comfortable with my feelings about being adopted and has given me the courage to look for my daughter. Plus it has helped my brother tremendously.”
“So many ways that I may not remember them all. Meeting other adoptee triad members. Hearing from birthmothers, a perspective that I had never considered. Friend to talk out problems with. Funny stories to hear and share. Knowing that we aren't alone. Meeting many, many, people that i never would have met. Helping with adoption/school issues.”
“It's always good to hear the stories, and to realize that none of us are in this alone. There are others walking this journey with us.”
“It has helped me to continue to know I’m not alone in my journey, thoughts, or feelings. I enjoy being able to hear from everyone within the triad.”
“By confirming my own decisions and intuitions about my birth family, and helping me see my future self in this new world!”
“They have been wonderful! Especially Traci Onders (Adoption Network Cleveland Program Manager) who found both of my birth parents. And the meetings are very therapeutic. As I say at the end of each meeting it's wonderful to be with people that truly understand what you are feeling and going through.”
“It has helped me figure out myself. It has helped me normalize my feelings.”
While the majority of meetings are open discussions, one group per month will offer a discussion based on a special topic. Space is limited to maintain the ability of those registered to participate in the discussion. Our topic meetings are very popular and frequently have a waiting list. Registration through our calendar is required. Some past topics include:
- Redefining Family
- Ambiguous Loss
- The Male Perspective on Adoption
- Ethical Issues and Landmines
- Maintaining Healthy Boundaries
- Rejection & Moving Beyond It
- Parenting While Adopted
- Control as a Core Issue
- What Adoptees Want You to Know About Adoption
- Are DNA Tests a Good Gift Idea?
- Birth Parent Panel
Other Special Focus Groups:
For more information, contact:
Ty Cliffel, LPC, Director of Programs