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.
WAYS TO CELEBRATE:
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.