Modern life can be very isolating. In adoption circles, it is recognized that the reason many parents, and especially single mothers, lose custody of their child is a lack of support – financial, familial and mental health.
It is more difficult for some parents to tap into support than others. Parents who may be new to a particular community; parents who are raising a child with some sort of mental health or behavioral challenge or health concern; parents who are barely scrapping by from pay check to pay check and who may not have the financial resources to sign their kids up for extra-curricular activities that might otherwise bring them into the orbit of other families; parents who are working unpredictable schedules that make it hard to make plans. All those factors can make it extra challenging to find – let alone connect with – your “village.”
If you’re a parent who is finding it hard to find support in your community, start out by looking for that support online. Online social networking has been a godsend for me because we live a rural wilderness isolated existence. Therefore, my mom’s group (formed 17 years ago) keeps me in contact with other mothers sharing some unique and similar impacts of daily living. Our children are all turning 16 this year and our group started as email exchange threads and eventually migrated to Facebook. Another useful group for me as I discover the effects that rampant adoption has had on my family is a group that is made up of mothers who lost custody, adoptees, former foster care youth and adoptive parents. This group is especially helpful for unwed mothers considering the surrender of their baby to adoption after birth.
Once you’ve tapped into online support, you may also find groups focused in your own town, city, county or state that bring with them opportunities to create in person relationships in your community. Maybe you can find an online group for parents and kids in your local vicinity – this offers the best of both worlds. There you may find instantly accessible online support when you’re looking for that. And advice in the midst of a really bad day (or even longer night!) which every parent faces at times. You may find in person events, get-togethers that provide opportunities to meet online acquaintances face-to-face.
For many people, that village of yesteryear simply no longer exists. Happily for many of us, we have discovered that modern technology is allowing us to find a new way. Even in dire financial emergencies, there are now online methods of fund raising. In smaller communities, such as the one I live in there are often jars set up near the cash registers of sympathetic businesses to help some local cause. In community Facebook pages, one can even inquire about jobs or temporary needs for furniture, appliances, clothing etc after an unfortunate event in a family’s life.
All this to say – it is still out there – support for families in need. It just looks different now.