Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Celebrating an Adoption

This post goes out to you who love adoption, want to adopt someday but aren't ready, or just want to get behind others who are adopting. I've even had people come up to me and ask how they can help the couples I'm working with who want to adopt. I love that!

One of the obvious ways that you can help an adoptive couple is financially. Giving to adoption funds, helping them with fund raisers, etc.

In this post, however, I want to address the emotional support that adoptive couples long for from their family and friends. I've read enough blogs and heard enough stories to know that not all adoptive families receive the overwhelming support of their families and friends, and it really makes me sad.

Some people just don't understand. Some people think you're crazy. Some people have a hard time celebrating and connecting with a child they haven't met yet. Many times they want to know who the child is and when they will be arriving, and many times the answer is "We don't know. We're waiting." There are many reasons why, but I want to focus on how you can help support adoptive couples emotionally through the process.

1. Pray- adoptive couples need your prayers. They have embarked on a journey of faith and regardless of why they are adopting, the journey is emotional and hard at times. Partner with them in praying for their unborn child's safety and protection, pray for the birth mother that she is getting godly counsel and good care. If they are waiting on an international adoption, ask them what specific things you can pray for them in regards to the child they are waiting on.

2. Listen- ask how their adoption is going, spend time listening and being supportive.

3. Celebrate with them- A couple who has been matched is typically walking around with butterflies in their stomaches non-stop. They are faced with the fear of all the what if's surrounding an adoption. They want to celebrate and be excited and they are, but they are also afraid of potential disappointment.

1. Have a baby shower! Yes, have a baby shower. Please do this for your friends who are adopting- they are having a baby! Do what you would for any of your friend who are expecting a child. Our daughter arrived so quickly that our shower was a "Welcome Home Elia" party as well. Here's My Little Darlin' at Her Baby Shower

Here are two links to the great celebrations of two adoptive moms.

(I would like to note that I think that this should be done even for couples who are adopting an older child. Check with the family first and see what type of celebrating they think the child can handle. If the child is working through adjustment issues, it may be best to collect gifts and have a drop off shower!)

2. Take the adoptive mom out for lunch and help her register for baby things. It's fun! I had a friend do this for me. It had been 9 years since my last baby, and honestly I didn't even know where to start. We had fun, we laughed a lot!

3. Help get the nursery ready.

4. Volunteer to take care of their children, house, pets, etc, when they are out of town to pick up the baby. We were blessed to have family help us out and stay with our kids.

5. Have a welcome home party!

6. We invited all of our family and friends for a Blessing Service at our home.

7. Organize meals to be brought in once they are home with the baby. Bringing home a new baby is always an adjustment, and even new adoptive moms are tired moms!

8. Help out with younger children if there are little ones at home. I had a friend call and ask if she could take my older three to the zoo a few days after we were home with the baby. It as such a loving gesture and was really appreciated!

** These acts of love can be poured out on a family regardless of the age of the child they are bringing home! An adoptive family just wants to feel that you are rejoicing and celebrating the arrival of their newest family member!

My list is hardly comprehensive. I would love it if those of you who have adopted would share some great, creative ways that your family and friends celebrated your adoption.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Employee Adoption Benefits on the Rise

For a great article on the increase of employee adoption benefits go to CNN.com

If you're considering adoption, make sure you inquire to find out if your employer offers adoption benefits. I've seen benefits include reimbursement for expenses ranging from $2,000-10,000. In addition many companies are offering time off for adoption travel. I even have heard of one case where an employee asked his company to consider adding adoption benefits, explained to them the benefit of creating an adoption benefit package, and the employer added this to the company benefit plan!

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Congratulations Amy and Malcolm

Amy and Malcolm are the founders of Christian Adoption Consultants. They just celebrated the arrival of their son, Max. They have helped hundreds of couples in their adoption journey and are now adopting their second child!
Congratulations guys! I love you and I'm so excited for you!
McKenna, you're such a beautiful big sister!
To read their full adoption story visit their blog!

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Dave Thomas and Wendy's Celebrate Father's Day

Dads rock. And so does a Frosty over Father’s weekend (June 14-15). Why? Well, participating Wendy’s ® stores will be donating 50¢ of every Frosty product sold to the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption. The funds are vital to helping us find permanent, loving families for children in foster care. So how about surprising your dad with a frosty and enjoy a good treat for a good cause?

Help us spread the word about the Rockin’ Father’s Day Frosty. Send this video to friends and family today!

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

We've Been Matched- Now What?

The adoption journey is full of preparation and waiting. Intitially there is the sometimes grueling process of the home study, with mounds of paperwork and lots of running here and there for physicals, background checks, reference letters, and so forth. Trusting the Lord for finances when it seems impossible. Then the agency application process... ugghhh! More paperwork!

Next, the Waiting Room.... waiting to be presented to a birth mom, waiting to see if she picks you, waiting for the next situation and the next... until you are MATCHED!

Many couples literally feel pregnant with expectation through this whole process with a huge array of emotions that follow. It's a journey of the heart and the heart feels deeply through this whole process. Longing for and loving a child you have never met, is an incredible experience.

THE MATCH! After the initial rush and excitement of having been chosen, once again you wait. It was very sobering during this waiting process to think that somewhere out there a woman had looked upon our family and decided that we were worthy somehow to raise this child she carried. I remember feeling so in love with this baby- and having a deep sense of longing in my heart for her. And I remember facing fear of all the what if's.

When faced with the "now what?" after the match, here is my advice.
1. Pray. Pray now more than you have up until this point. Pray for the birth mom and pray for the child in her womb. Speak the Word of God over their lives and believe that God's hand is upon them both.
2. Journal, if you like to write. I wrote almost daily to my daughter before I knew her, so that one day she would know how much I anticipated her arrival. I did this for each of my children, and I wanted our adoption to be no different.
3. Get ready! Allow yourself to prepare. For those of you that are waiting after being disappointed, I know this is harder. But if you are near your due date, I would prepare just as you would for any child.
4. Talk. Talk to others who have been in the waiting room before! Have a support system that really understand what you are experiencing.

When we waited for our daughter Elia, we spoke of her by name. Prayed for her by name. Prayed for her birth family daily. We bought baby clothes, painted her room, put her crib together, and all of the things that make anticipating a baby's arrival the celebration that it should be!

Were their days that fear hit me? Absolutely. Because I've carried children and adopted, I remember reminding myself that I had trusted the Lord with each of my children- and that I needed to do the same with this one. I miscarried one, gave birth to three, and carried one in my heart. I celebrated each and anticipated the arrival of each with all of my heart.

If you have been MATCHED and are in the Waiting Room, I'm praying for you today!

Monday, June 2, 2008

NEW: Minority Adoption Program

For couples adopting African American children Our Minority Adoption Program is a special program that offers adoption services to couples who wish to adopt African American children.This program has three main objectives

1) To educate people on the need to adopt African American children,
2) To actively recruit African American or Inter-racial couples to adopt, and
3) To greatly reduce the cost of adoption.