By Christine Tangel, LCSW
I often hear the question from parents, when wonderings come up about something in their family, “Is this related to adoption or not?” And the answer, most of the time, is “yes” and “no”.
And here is how I set the stage for why Bagels & Blox belongs in your family’s monthly routine. Or more generally, why joining, embracing, an adoption community is essential to the well-being of your family.
Needing community is a universal truth in parenting. All of the “whys”, “what is that abouts” and “that happened to us toos” need the ears of those who are living that same experience. For your children, they need this community because it is playful and fun and reflects to them how their family shares things in common with other families in the group. Your child’s sense of identity is reinforced in a community instead of trying to comprehend it on their own or just with their family.
Once a month, on a Sunday morning at Spence-Chapin my colleagues and I roll out the play mats, set up the toys, lay out the breakfast spread (of bagels and lox of course!) and prepare to welcome a community of young families. Some of these families are familiar faces – who we look forward to seeing every time and others are coming for the first time or “trying on” this particular group.
Bagels & Blox is joyful and silly and friendly. It is a place where toddlers are forming early friendships and parents can catch up with each other.
It is a casual atmosphere. Our playgroup allows space to connect with other families or build blocks with your child but also has professionals there for questions or to get tips, if needed. We have adoption related resources-articles, books and children’s books are out on display and available to look through or take home.
It is flexible. All families’ schedules are busy. Our playgroups allow families to choose how many you come to. We have some members who will be with us every month, we have others who come every few months. In either case, our commitment is that you feel welcomed and at home when you come.
It is belonging. All people, big and little, have a desire to belong and to feel accepted into a group. Finding a place where you and your child can feel connected to others who share the experience of adoption helps to build on the foundation of feeling understood and accepted. If from a young age, they are a part of a community that shares adoption, it helps them understand that part of their identity too.
Bagels & Blox is open to all families with adopted children between 0 and 6 years old. Admission is free. To learn more about an upcoming playgroup or family-friendly events, please visit our website at www.spence-chapin.org/community.