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SPA, a support group


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Single Parent Adoption


  Adoption is one way to build a family. It is not a perfect way. I acknowledge that adoption involves loss - the loss of a child for the birth parent(s), the loss of birth parents for the adoptee, and perhaps the loss of hope for a biological child for the adoptive parent(s).

But adoption can be a good method of family building for all concerned. And the members of the triad can learn from each other, respect each other and be grateful for the choices that have been made.

My family is built by adoption. I have two wonderful daughters. Dee, the first daughter came to me 2 weeks before her 4th birthday. Em, the second, joined us when she was 5 years, 10 months. Both girls were from Ontario.

I witnessed with distress their grief at losing previous families and now enjoy with deep gratitude the love they give me. I'm privileged to be part of their lives, lending a listening ear to their difficulties and celebrating their triumphs with them while striving (stumblingly) to raise them as honest, happy women. It's a rich and rewarding life.

SPA, a support group

I belong to a support group called Single Parent Adoption or SPA for short. We are a group of single parents from quite a wide area around Toronto, Ontario, Canada. We meet "formally" every other month and and informally in the 'between' months. Only 4 meetings per year are really formal, though, because we have a picnic in July and a holiday party in November. Children are welcome at the meetings as we hire babysitters. We also like to welcome new children as they are adopted and watch the children grow.

Our informal meetings are activities planned with our children in mind. We visit places like the wave pool, the zoo, farms and other attractions.

Our members include people who are thinking about adoption, those who have started the process of adoption (both locally and internationally), and those who have already adopted. Several members have more than two children. Because of the diversity of experience in our group we are able to answer a wide variety of questions from new members.

Mostly, our members are women although we've had men participate at times.



I am sometimes asked if I can recommend any books on adoption. The best one I've read is The Family of Adoption by Dr. Joyce Maguire Pavao who was herself adopted. You will need different information at different times and will build your own list of favourites. Below, I give a short list of links and I mention those which are annotated.

A person just beginning the process of adoption has many questions about whether or how to go about adoption in a satisfactory way. And a new parent sometimes mentions that s/he doesn't get as much support from those around her as she had hoped. She feels lonely with her new responsibilities which often mean a limited social life.

For those in these situations, I would recommend joining an email list. I've been part of several lists and found them quite helpful. Questions are answered by those who have been there, know the feelings, the frustrations, the joys and delights. The members who post tell their stories, give advice, share difficult times, joys and successes, and become a community. The "flavours" of groups can be very different, so try some and stay with those that you like. A list of those that I have experience with is given below and links (or information on joining) are provided.

You can find lists for almost any topic - from support for geographic areas to specific needs of children or situations of parents.

As my older daughter enters her teen years, I will need support in a new area. As I find aid, I will list it here.

Comments on this web site and suggestions for it are welcome.

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About Single Parent Adoption in Ontario

    The old article I had about adoption in Ontario is now on another page (adptnArticle1998.html) because the information is old - 1998.
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Links to (or information about) email lists

  • Adoption Email Lists Directory Here you will find many, many lists on a wide variety of topics. Following are lists that I belong to as time permits and most were found through the link mentioned here.

  • SINGLE-APARENT is a happy, friendly list where both male and female single parents share joys and concerns.
    SINGLE-APARENT Mailing List
    To join, send email to:
    In the message portion type:
    subscribe SINGLE-APARENT

  • Canadians Adopting list deals with specifically Canadian concerns, as can be seen by the title (duh).
    Canadians Adopting
    A mailing list for families living in Canada who are interested in adoption.
    To Join: Send a blank message to OR register on the web at Canadians Adopting

  • For mixed-race families:
    X Culture Adoption List
    To Join: In the body of your email send the message:
    subscribe XCULTUREADOPT Your Name
    or go to the webpage: X Culture Adopt

  • Adoptive Families Together
    I love this list as it answers so many of my own questions. The families here have often adopted children who are severely damaged emotionally so the list can sometimes be "heavy". However, the members are very compassionate and understanding in their support of each other.
    Email to subscribe to the list. Or you can register at AFTlist

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Links for Ontario

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More general adoption links:


Comments on this web site and suggestions for it are welcome.

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Copyright© 1999-2004 by Martha Greenhow
Etobicoke, Ontario, Canada