You all know that I think you should look deep down in your heart and see if you have room there to love a child who needs a family into your home. If you do and your spouse does, then I URGE to you to start working towards that. Love is the catalyst and the rest will follow!
If you are absolutely positively sure that adoption is not in the plans for your family at this time, then I move onto encouraging you to support a family that is adopting. Remember during Harrison’s adoption process when these sweet boys took it upon themselves to give us all of their change…
There are MANY ways to be a support to adopting families. I thought it would be nice to share a some ideas. Below, I’ve created a mixture of ideas from what has been done for us, what we’ve seen/or not seen done for others, and some ideas I got from an adoption forum I am a part of!
-I’ll go ahead and share what is usually MOST helpful to many families forging through an adoption. $$$ Help in their efforts to chip away at their adoption fees, donate items for their yard sale, GIVE a financial gift, donate time or resources to their efforts to work away at their fees.
-Be a prayer warrior for the family through the process…share devotions, send a card, and offer encouragement etc to them throughout the process. Little things like this can bring so much joy during the hard waiting periods!
-Ask how it's going and really listen to them. Sometimes, we adoptive parents just want someone to listen to us as we talk through all the emotions and processes. AND sometimes being asked during a painfully hard waiting period is not helpful…feel the family out.
-Don't compare adoption to pregnancy or talk about how much easier adoption is than gaining weight and getting stretch marks It is really hard to know the kind of “labor” an adoptive parent is experiencing if you have not been there yourselves. I once did a comparison HERE!
-Offer to watch their at-home kids while they run adoption related errands or work on paperwork at home.
-Take them dinner when you know they are in a time crunch for paperwork (specifically at the application period, referral period, and pre-travel prep)
-Get a group together and deep clean their home or mow their yard before they get home with their children. (if you don't want to you could hire someone)
-Surprise them with a shower! If they insist they don't want one, you could gather donations for their agency and they could take needed items when they travel.
-Donate air miles if that is applicable as they prepare to purchase plane tickets.
-Set up meals to be brought for a month or so once the family is home.
-Offer your services….if you’re good at video editing, make a video out of their footage of the adoption process. If you’re good with photography take pictures of their homecoming and maybe family photos when they are settled. If you are good with planning help to be the go-to person for some of their fundraising events.
-Help them out once they are newly home. Watch their other kids or take them to places they need to go (preschool, practice, church, etc), run errands for them, drop off a load of groceries, mow their yard!
-Set up a prayer chain as they travel covering the hours of travelling there, meeting their children, the days in country adjusting, their travel home, and the adjustment for the whole family once home!
-Learn about a child’s (adopted internationally) culture with the family. A forum member said, “Learning more about my child's culture wile waiting made my baby feel nearer to me, and not half a world away.”
-Another forum member reflected, “I had a girlfriend that came and picked up my older son for school just about every day this past school year because it was such a struggle to get everyone up and put the door that early. It was such a tangible way to help me and it meant so much. It was the most selfless thing anyone has ever done for me. I had another friend that always offered to babysit so I could take lucy to her specialists without lugging my other 3 kids with me. Another friend came and watched lucy for me a couple of times so I could nap after my husband went back to work and I was still jet lagged and exhausted from my trip to korea.”
-and another… “For our first adoption, friends of ours gave us their gently used stuff- a pack n play, a crib, changing table, high chair, clothes, a monitor, and toys. This was fantastic Friends would put me in touch with other friends that had adopted. It was wonderful to be part of the community so to speak and get viewpoints from other adoptive parents. one was particularly helpful- a friend's boss had adopted from Korea 28 years ago and it was wonderful to talk to his daughter and get the viewpoint of an adult adoptee.”
-“The most encouraging thing for me was having my BFF really get all the attachment stuff I would talk about. Although she had no background in it, she listened and "believed" me. It has really come in handy over the years since I had 3 who struggled.”
-“I would have to say that when we got to number two on the wait list and my mom started crying (she's not the sensitive type) it really touched me. It is so special to have your family's support and know that they are super excited for you. It is also touching to hear others Explaining Korean culture and the adoption process for you. I have had many people come up to me and tell me thanks for taking the time to talk about adoption and korea. Makes my heart soooo. Happy!”
-“my major thought for most things is to treat the family like you would any family who is adding a child (as far as gift giving, being helpful, not criticizing a messy house, etc). Adding an adopted child is just as special as adding a biologic child -- and if there is something a person tends to do for friends adding a biologic child, they should do the same (or an equivalent) for a friend adding an adopted child. To me that also means that you don't have to do more for a family adding an adopted child than you would for a one adding a biologic child.”
A note from me: I can’t tell you how many times someone has told me they’ll wait to get excited about the children we’re adopting until they get here. They say “well, they’re not here yet” I hardly EVER see people act that way about children on the way through pregnancy!! My motto is that if you wait until the baby is here to love and care about them, you are missing out on a HUGE blessing…both being one and receiving one.
-“Cards were a big thing for me during holidays. My AP SIL would send me one and include the child we were waiting for. Made me feel like they were still part of the family even though they were on the other side of the world. I'm sure no one intentionally excluded them but it always made me cringe to not see their name included. Or at Christmas when the "in utereo" babies would get gifts and my child didn't it always stung a bit. It meant to much to me when my child was included or acknowledged.”
It means so much to have cheerleaders along the way! Adoption is a hard and long road!! You will be a great blessing to a family if you do just one of the things above!
That’s all I’ve got for now! I’d love for any of those who have experienced great encouragement from others throughout your adoption process to share additional ideas in the comments!