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.


Daughter of the Lord Jesus said...

Thank you for all of your great ideas! We have run up against some issues and it is good to know that people are supporting adoptive families!

Grace said...

These are great! Most of our friends were awesome, and did most of the things on your list.

Unfortunately I can also think of several things for friends 'not to say' to those who are pursuing an adoption. Such as...

"How much does it cost? Isn't that like 'buying' a baby?"

Or asking very intrusive questions about the birth family in front of the child. Or worse yet, saying something negative about the birth family.

Thankfully we haven't had this happen very often. Most of our friends/family have been very supportive throughout our entire process. But if/when something hurtful is said, it stings for sure.

oh, one more thing that a friend could do...Research adoption! Books like 'Adoption is a Family Affair,' are great for friends/family members to read.

Steven and Krisit Cooper said...

Great list, I have had some friends(even my pregnant friends) take me out for coffee just to hear all the details. It makes me feel like I am "in the club".

You might add # helping them start a life book # to the list of things. I am going to start one, however I am not much of a creative type or scrapbooker.

Also if they are looking for a "congrats on getting placed" present (if there is such a thing) they could buy them a book on how to raise an adopted child.

Loved the post for sure!

Oh yeah, we're having a girl!!!

Lanny said...

Great list!

Our daughter was born in a different state, so we had to stay there for a while for ICPC. I emailed pictures of my daughter to one of my co-workers. Instead of forwarding them to others, she took them around the school herself, and she wrote down word-for-word what each person said as they saw the pictures. She then typed it all up and emailed it back to me. It meant the world to me! I still have it. Although I was miles and miles away, I was able to celebrate with my friends.

You also mentioned prayers for the birthmother. I agree so strongly. I was continually hurt by people saying "you are doing her a favor" or "what? you're going to stay in touch with her? why? I wouldn't even let her know where you live!" I know they just did not fully understand open adoption, but I was hurt by it. I love my daughter's birthmother!

Thanks again for the list! It's a great one! :)