My experience with a self-help support group

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I joined ARMS in South Australia in 1989. It was originally the Australian Relinquishing Mothers Society, later changed to the Association Representing Mothers Separated from their children by adoption. ARMS received government funding to employ staff and rent premises. I undertook a course of counselling at ARMS which changed my whole outlook on my adoption experience and helped me enormously to understand what had happened and the impact that this experience had had on my life. Meeting with other mothers at ARMS was also therapeutic for me, as they were very accepting. It is difficult for those who have not had the experience of losing a child to adoption to understand its impact and others are often judgmental. I served on the ARMS Management Committee from 1993 until I was employed by ARMS, after I had completed a post-graduate degree in social work, as their Counsellor/Co-ordinator from 1999 until 2003. I resigned from this position due to unresolved issues between myself and the management committee. I cancelled my ARMS membership the following year. I do appreciate the positive impact which my membership of ARMS had in my life and I am aware of the value of the self-help model. ARMS in South Australia no longer exists.

 

There have been enormous changes in attitudes since 1970 and there is now much more acceptance of single parent families.