Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Resources for Support Groups

Sorry to have missed another week's blog. We had out of town company and I just let it slide while enjoying my sister-in-law and nephews. :) While we are now all passing a nasty little tummy bug around the family, I finally have a chance to get back online a bit.

I received an email a couple weeks ago asking a pretty common question. "How do I start a local support group?" After composing an answer for this woman, I decided that this might be good information to post here for anyone else who is looking. If you know of other helpful resources, please don't hesitate to add them to the comments section! For anyone considering allowing God to take your heartache and use you to His glory in reaching out to others, I praise God for giving you this heart's desire. A basic article on starting/running infertility support groups is here.

At Laura's adoption blog you will find a lot of great information compiled by a woman who has successfully led an adoption/infertility ministry. As it is very adoption-focused, it may not all apply to your situation, but you can probably glean a lot of great ideas. Scroll down a bit, just below all the category links to where you find "Laura's picks" then a blurb on my book...keep reading from there and you will find so much!

If you call Stepping Stones at 1-800-613-3188 and request back newsletter number SS.957.NL(Finding Support) there is very helpful basic information here. As you get started, be sure to also register your group with Stepping Stones so they can add you to their contact list.

As always, I highly recommend the book The Ache for a Child by Debra Bridwell. While it is now out of print, it is still available through sites like (I've also created a list of my favorite infertility and loss books on Amazon if you are interested in this resource.) Debra helped start a very successful infertility support group out in California years ago and there are many references to this group in her book.

If your group is going to be church-based, I encourage you to start by looking at the biggest "pain trigger" issues within your own church then brainstorming with a few other couples about the best way to balance these needs. For example, if your church does monthly baby dedications but also offers Sunday School classes running in conjunction with service times, might baby dedication Sundays be good days to offer special support group meeting days? One church that seems to have a really neat infertility ministry is Watermark Community - I've not talked to the leaders directly, but their website is impressive.

Another great model for grief support is the GriefShare organization.

And while dealing with a whole different topic (chronic pain and health issues), many of the methods used by the Rest Ministries Hope Keepers groups can be very helpful in planning and organizing your group as well.

I look forward to seeing what God does with your willing hearts! If you are starting (or already running) a group in your area, I would love to know about it. Please add details about your group to the "comments" below so that other blog visitors can connect with you. Also, be sure to stop by the Hannah's Prayer Community Forums and join us in the support group forum under the "leadership" section of the message boards.

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