As a leader in the field of adoption support, PAC is well aware that adoption is a lifelong journey, not just for the adopted child but for everyone involved – adoptive parents, relatives and friends, siblings and the birth families. At any point on this journey painful feelings and emotions might surface unexpectedly, affecting quality of life and even mental health. We believe it is important to provide the opportunity for those affected to gather in a ‘safe’ space where they are able to reach a deeper understanding and hopefully peace of mind .
A therapeutic group meeting two hours a week for six weeks costs £1,500. Our goal is to raise £4,500 from this Feast, enough to run three groups during 2014.
Reunion and Beyond: Since 1998, ten Reunion and Beyond groups have taken place. They have run in London and Brighton. This is a totally innovative ‘mixed’ group consisting of birth parents and adopted adults. It has an impressive record in helping both these parties involved in reunions to better understand the perspective of the other party and thus re-frame their own experience in a wider context. The group is open to any adopted adult or birth parent who has had a reunion, or some form of contact that they anticipated could lead to a reunion. It is not designed for participants who are related to one another. The objective of these groups is to provide an opportunity for those who may be disappointed and confused, or having difficulties with a reunion, to share the relevant aspects of their personal story with others in a similar situation. In sharing these stories, participants realise they are not alone in finding a reunion challenging and difficult. These encounters can be eye opening at the least, and on occasions transformative.
Transracial Adoption: In 2013 PAC ran its first group in several years for Transracially Adopted Adults. Members were from various racial and cultural backgrounds and ranged in age from their late thirties to early fifties. Previous counselling at PAC was a pre-requisite for their joining the group, since it was intended to be experiential and therefore likely to arouse a lot of painful feelings in members as they shared their experiences of growing up adopted - mostly in openly hostile white communities in Britain during the 1960s to ‘80s. All participants confirmed that their on-going exposure as children to unremitting personal and institutional racism at school and elsewhere impacted on them in adulthood, affecting their core sense of self-worth, ability to trust others, and capacity for making and sustaining deep and meaningful relationships with partners and even their own children in turn. They admitted to suffering a deep sense of social isolation even in adult life, ‘genealogical bewilderment’ especially where they had no knowledge of their ethnic background and an on-going sense of being culturally lost and not belonging to any one group. With the current move towards more transracial adoptions, it is ever more important to create a forum where those facing these difficulties can support each other.