Support Groups for Adoption

Parent Q&A

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  • Adoption group for tween girl?

    (1 reply)

    Hi there,

    I noticed in response to a question last week an anonymous mom mentioned that her daughter was attending a girls adoption support group.  If she or anyone else would mind sharing the information for that group with me I'd be super grateful.  My daughter is 10 and adopted and has many of the issues the poster and respondents described.

    Thanks to all!

    I'm not the original poster, but my daughter used to be in a group run by Virginia-Keeler Wolf. She has different groups by age and they are held from Sept. to May.

Archived Q&A and Reviews

April 2014

Re: Waited 2 years to adopt through Contra Costa County - support groups?

There are a couple of resources that may be useful to you. PACT is an organization that supports families with adopted children of color. They also act as an adoption agency. They have regular gatherings and classes, which is a good way to meet others. Most of the families that I know through PACT have adopted through private adoption rather than through the foster system. Their website is

Peggy Pearson works with the Center for Vulnerable Child at Children's Hospital she runs a support group and a lecture series, both take place 2x per month. I believe her programs are open to everyone.

Hi Loni, There are two really great groups which you might want to check out. FAIR (Families Adopting In Response) is on the peninsula, but they have families from around the Bay Area, mostly public domestic adoptions, and could probably put you in touch with another family. Pact is an East Bay agency which facilitates adoptions (i.e. private) but again, lots of their families have done adoptions from the public system also.

I wonder if an agency like ASK which works with other county systems (Alameda, that I know of) would allow an outside family to attend any of their groups. We used Future Families in SF, and were part of a support group of waiting parents. been there

Support Group for Parents of adopted boy with attachment issues

Jan 2014

I am the parent of an adopted boy with attachment issues. The daily sense of failure, rejection and hopelessness is so hard. I have a therapist for myself, couples therapy for my partner and me, and a therapist for my son. But the one thing I desperately wish for is a group of parents to talk with who understand what this is like. Parents of biological children, or those lucky few who adopt without attachment problems, no matter how well-intended they may be, always end up saying things that make me feel worse. They have no way of understanding how completely, totally on another planet, our family life is.

Does anyone know of any local (Berkelely/Albany/Oakland) groups for parents of RAD kids, or even just attachment disordered kids? I am so desperate for contact with other moms who understand. If you don't know of a group, but are one of those moms and you wan to talk, please send me your email through the moderator. Lonely Mom

I'm so sorry that you and your child are experiencing RAD. I'm an adoptive mom too though my kids don't suffer from RAD so I don't know of any support groups. But I wanted to suggest PACT's upcoming conference on adoption as a place to meet other families struggling with attachment issues. I attend this conference every year. It's great for getting information on all kinds of challenges of adoptive parenting, as well as meeting other parents dealing with similar issues. One of the tracks at the conference is on Attachment. This year's conference is on March 8 and is entitled The Heart of Adoption in Love. Here's the link: Hang in there and best of luck! fellow adoptive mom

My daughter is currently in a great adoption support group with Virginia Keeler-Wolf, who specializes in adoption and attachment. I asked Virginia your question, and while she doesn't currently have a support group for boys, she says that she knows of a group in the South Bay and has other resources for you. Also, maybe if you connect with her, you can help her start a new group as well. Information on her practice is at and contact info at adoptive parent too

Looking for Guatemalan Adoption Group

Feb 2012

We have recently relocated to Berkeley and looking for a Guatemalan adoption group or any group of parents with adopted children. We previously lived in NYC where a group met often and the leaders were well-versed in all issues and most countries. It was also a great place to connect with other parents and meet children who were born in the same country. Our lovely five year old girl happens to be from Guatemala and we brought her home two months before she turned one. thank you! Mom of Guatemalan child. Mom of Guatemalan child

you're in luck! there are 2 main groups here in the bay area, the larger bay area guatadopt group, which is most active on the peninsula but has members from as far off as sacramento, and my own homebase, the east bay guatadopt group. it's a very active group that's been meeting for 7 years. we have an annual potluck and regular playdates, although that's been a little harder to do now that everyone's kids are in school. there's also a book club that just got going this year. the list is very active and we talk about whatever impacts our kids. i can tell you that there is a big cohort of 5 year-old girls in the group. they've been growing up together, like having cousins.

East Bay Birth Mother Support Group?

Feb 2011

Does anyone know of a birth mother support group in the East Bay? I've tried to attend the Pacer meetings in Orinda, but they meet so irregularly. I just started a Meetup group ( so if anyone happens to know of a birth mom who would want to connect please pass along the information.

I've really struggled to manage my pain around the adoption. It was supposed to be an open adoption, but after the papers were finalized I didn't hear from the family for over six years. I was promised monthly visits and regular pictures. Within the past two years the relationship has changed (the family divorced) and I can send my daughter monthly letters, but I still haven't seen her since her 1st birthday (almost 10 years ago).

I know that I would be able to manage my pain better if I could process it with other birth mothers. I have tried therapy and EMDR, but both have helped very little. I am married now and have a beautiful seven month-old son. Sometimes my pain is triggered when I look at my son and I have to attempt to ignore it.

If anyone has suggestions on a support group in the East Bay or is willing to pass along my information to another birth mother I would really appreciate it. At this point I feel as though I am processing this alone. This might sound bad, but I feel like no one really understands my pain. Thanks!

I am an adoptive mom with very open adoptions and my heart is breaking to hear what is happening to you. I have two suggestions for you to seek support and guidance ...

The first is to contact Ellen Roseman of Cooperative Adoption (ellen [at] ... she is an advocate for birth parents and may be able to assist you in mediating the issues at hand regarding the switch in terms of your adoptive placement ... as an Adoption Facilitator in Northern California she has educated both adoptive and birth families on open adoption ... we worked with Ellen on both of our daughter's adoptions and wouldn't be where we are today without her guidance. Her number is 415-453- 0902.

My second suggestion is to contact the organization On Your Feet which is an organization just for birth parents offering support, mentoring and scholarships their website is Lastly our younger daughter's birth mother lives in the East Bay and if you want to contact me I can connect you.

I applaud your reaching out for help as you do not need to be alone ... I hope you contact the people I've suggested they will be supportive of you and your situation and please don't hesitate to contact us as well. Regards, Lisa

Your continued expressions of love for and interest in your child are invaluable to her and she will probably want to meet you on her own some time in the future, so don't give up hope. You might try contacting PACT, an Adoption Alliance, in Oakland. They have a strong emphasis on supporting birth parents and probably could give you some recommendations. Adoption Connection Jewish Family Services also has resources to share. They cover all of the Bay Area, but SF is not too far to travel for something so important. Andrea - Mom by adoption

Support group for adopted 11-year-old daughter

Feb 2011

I am looking for a support group or camp for my 11 year old daughter whom was adopted as an infant through a domestic adoption. I am looking in Berkeley or El Cerrito area. I heard about Virginia Keeler Ross' group but it is a difficult time of day for our family and it is very expensive. Does anyone know of other groups? I think a group would be better than individual because she keeps on talking about being different than everyone due to her adoption. If there are no other groups could anyone comment on Virginia's group? Was it helpful for your child? By the way she is the same race as my husband and I are (Pact would not be appropriate). Thanks A

I am the founder and director of FUSION: A Summer Camp for Mixed Heritage and Transracially Adopted Youth. It is focused on the Mixed Heritage and TRA experiences, but it is open to youth of all heritages and we have had several non-mixed heritage and non-TRA campers attend and have an enriching and memorable summer! The focus is really on self-identification and self-expression, so it is truly a camp for all children and I am sure your daughter will be able to bond with other adoptee campers and staff because of their shared experiences. Please go to our website,, and email or call me with any questions you may have. Whether or not our program is a good fit for your daughter, I wish you luck! As a mixed heritage TRA myself, I know how important it is to find a community, which is why I started the camp! info [at]

Mary Ellen Hill has a weeklong summer camp for adoptees of varying ages (and also Saturday workshops during the school year). My 9-year-old daughter has done both, and loves them. (Mary Ellen also offers other interesting camps, unrelated to adoption). These will be held in Oakland. My daughter will probably sign up again for the summer camp.

My older daughter (now 13) did the Keeler-Wolf + Soble girl groups for a year, and would have continued if not for soccer conflict. If you would like to talk more about either or both these groups--which are quite different--send e-mail and we can follow up by phone or e-mail.

Mary Ellen Hill's website: Monday-Friday, 9a-3p, $350 Ages 6-12, six children maximum enrollment

Session 8August 8-12 + Adoptees Connecting Camp (ACC) This session is for children who want to share and explore their adoption in a supportive and playful way with other adopted children. Each camper will have many opportunities to celebrate their particular life journey as an adopted person through various art forms: writing, drawing, painting, collage, reading, drama and puppets. Mary Ellen was adopted as an infant and has been exploring adoption in various ways for many years. lori

2005 - 2009 Discussions

Adoptive Parents Support Group for challenging kids

April 2006

I am looking for a SUPPORT GROUP for parents of adopted children with challenging behavioral problems. Specifically, my child is a preschooler (five years old) with reactive attachment issues and sensory integration disorders.

Any existing support groups out there in the general East Bay area (Oakland, Berkeley & beyond)? Maybe a psychotherapist or counselor-led group? Hoping for low or no fees.

Also, know of any effective OCCUPATIONAL THERAPISTS who specialize in sensory integration therapy for children? Parent desperately seeking support!


  • A Better Way Foster and Adoption Agency
  • Virginia Keeler-Wolf (2 replies)
  • Rita Montez Occupational Therapist


    June 1999
    If you haven't heard about the group RESOLVE, they put on excellent periodic conferences on adoption and also have periodic other shorter, evening programs (e.g. introduction to adoption). They also organize adoption support groups for families going through the adoption process. Their number is 415 788--6772.
      Leah   Replying to the question about resources for adoptive parents. My good friend Jonathan Pannor offers these workshops and I've been meaning to post this. He is a wonderful person (I'm his friend and haven't been in his groups) and has adopted a child himself. His father is also an expert on adoptiona and pioneered open adoption.   Creating Healthy Families Through Adoption Two Part Educational Workshops for Parents of Children Ages 0-5 Years Old  This special program is for couples, single parents and adult family members who have adopted children and are beginning to deal with some of the early issues of adoption.  Groups will include time for discussion and questions.  Jonathan Pannor, LCSW, is a clinical social worker in private practice in the Bay area.  Cost: $100.00 Per Person  For information about this workshop and workshops for parents of children of all ages PLEASE CALL (415) 777-4008  Jonathan Pannor, LCSW Support Groups for Adoptive Parents and Caregivers of Elderly Family Members jonpannor AT (415) 777-4008 

    Resources for adoptive parents. Here are a few off the top of my head. The resource groups for parents often offer specific opportunities for adoptive parents. For instance, Neighborhood Moms, a parent support and resources group (510-527-MOMS) helps people organize volunteer support groups, including ones for adoptive families. There is a small annual membership fee which includes a monthly newsletter. Bananas, a family resources organization, offers all kinds of resources and workshops, some focussed on adoption or fostering, and can be reached at or bananainc AT (NB: I recently failed to connect to the website). There is a group for Single Adoptive Parents which meets about once a month (contact numbers in past digests). And there is a group in SF called Pact, an Adoption Alliance, which places kids but also publishes a really good listing of books and resources for adoptive families (for sale, that is). It's a paid membership, but the website and initial info pack are free. Their website includes the following blurb under

    Educational resources: Pact has now developed the nation's most comprehensive reference guide to books on adoption and/or race. In this informed reference guide to books on adoption, foster care, race and cultural issues, you'll find information on more than 1,000 titles; each description includes reviews, who-should-read' guides and a brief synopsis. 100 percent of the catalogue's profits support Pact's services for adoption of children of color. Members receive discounted pricing on every order. One hard copy of this reference guide is included with membership. You can order additional copies of the important resource, printed in hard copy, to give to relatives, friends, schools, agencies, support groups and libraries.

    I'm a single adoptive mom, and to be honest I depend for most of my support on my friends, family and my daughter's fabulous daycare (and yes, occasionally a paid babysitter, too!). I always mean to connect with the resources I've mentioned, and read more books but I'm usually too busy or tired!! :)) Good luck and cheers to you for adopting!