My Journey to Joy

March 6, 2013

Supporting Adopting Families by Sarah Andrews

Filed under: Adoption 101 — aunthoddy @ 5:00 AM

How Can You Help? Support for Adopting Families with Printable

 

Love one another. Bear one another’s burdens. Care for the orphan and widow. How do we live these scriptural commands in our families and churches? Perhaps we don’t know WHAT to do? I’d like to share some practical ideas to help you support families going through adoption.

Pray

Cover them with prayer, and be sure they know you are praying. One of the blessings through our adoption was getting to know people in our church family through their prayers for us. Several members we hardly knew checked on us periodically to see how we were doing and sent us notes. How encouraging to know believers were surrounding us in prayer!

Ask how to pray for them. Perhaps they have hit a roadblock, are meeting with a birth family, or perhaps there is no news…for too long.

Educate yourself

When you know the process, you can better support those going through it. My husband and I anxiously attended an information meeting at an adoption agency. We discovered that many common fears about domestic adoption were truth mixed with error. This eased our initial anxiety. Now, we try to correct misconceptions when we hear them. An informed person spreads truth!

So, attend a free information meeting at an agency. Learn about foster care, domestic adoption, and international adoption to consider the differences! Read! I highly recommend Russell Moore’s Adopted for Life. As you educate yourself, don’t be surprised if the Lord begins working in your heart about adoption!

Be excited!

Share their joy and anticipation. Adoption can be a long road with disappointment, delay, and discouragement. Families experience a mix of emotions. They are “expecting,” but don’t know how old the child will be, when he will arrive, or how long they will wait. But, they are excited to expand their family! Don’t be afraid to join them in their wait. Don’t hold back out of fear. Do adoptions fall through? Does heartbreak happen? Yes. But, isn’t it worth sacrificing a little personal comfort and emotional safety to love another family? To love an orphan?

Celebrate various milestones (paperwork submitted, home study completed, or being matched with a child) with a card or dessert! Drop off a gift appropriate for their anticipated child’s age range. Tell them how excited you are to meet their little one!

Celebrate when their child comes home. Offer to greet them at the airport. (Don’t forget the balloons!) Bring a meal. Wash laundry or clean, so they can bond with their new family member! Be considerate if they need time getting acquainted as a family, and ask permission to visit instead of just dropping in. When you visit, consider fixing the snack or doing the dishes, so they can enjoy holding their little one! Host a shower when they are ready–either when they are matched with their child, or when he arrives. Don’t be afraid to do this before everything is “final.” Giving a shower when items are needed speaks volumes of love and support. Our friends also blessed us with a party when our adoption was finalized. We praised the Lord together for bringing us through the two-year process. Of course, our cartoon faces on the cake were hilarious!

Sharing their joy includes realizing that adoption is not second best. Adoption is not an infertility treatment. Some couples choose to add to their family through adoption after experiencing infertility, but many do not! They are two separate issues. God builds families with both biological and adopted children. Adoption is a beautiful way the Lord brings families together. Celebrate that!

Offer financial support

Expense is one of the most commonly discussed aspects about adoption. How can you help an adopting family financially? Of course, the most obvious opportunity is giving. Consider living your financial life so you have resources available to share! Has our society become so consumed by acquiring possessions, entertainment, and relaxation that we have nothing left to bless others? Is a boat, travel, or a vacation home more important than helping an orphan get home to a loving family?

Are you thinking, “I don’t have a boat! I barely have food on the table myself!” You can still help financially. Again, educating yourself is vital. Many families fundraise to offset costs. Our friends have used these ideas: garage sales, t-shirt sales, mom-to-mom sales, tutoring, and more. Offer to help brainstorm! Better yet, offer to organize an event for them.Your time is free, but your effort will be an amazing blessing. When you know of a planned fundraising event, spread the word. If it’s a garage sale, donate items!

Learn about available financial support. We were very naïve about this when we adopted. We have since learned of various organizations offering grants and interest-free loans. Discover these opportunities, so you can tell others when they need it!

Consider your speech

Please, don’t use the terms “real” or “your own” for biological children! Adopted children are not pretend. They are as much “our own” as a child born into our family. Do not ever say that adoption is the “easy” way to have a child because one doesn’t experience childbirth. Pregnancy can be difficult physically. Adoption can be long and emotional. One is not “more’ than the other, they are different. Both have the potential for heartbreak. Please don’t share all the horror stories you’ve heard about failed adoptions. We know them and are already anxious. Be supportive and happy!

Adopting families don’t want people walking on proverbial eggshells around them, either. Most insensitive comments people make are probably not intended to be hurtful. People are just careless about their speech. Take a moment to consider your words. Ponder your level of relationship with the family before you ask personal details. If you are asking sensitive questions, be aware of others around you who may overhear. Seek permission to ask, and allow them not to answer if they desire. These few things may prevent hurting someone with our words.

I urge you to consider the child’s perspective! Difficult circumstances often surround the reason the child is available for adoption. That is personal family information. If the child is adopted as a baby, he isn’t aware if you ask all sorts of details about his birth family and the adoption. But, babies grow up. The child should have freedom to disclose that personal information, or not.

Please prayerfully consider how you can implement these ideas to support those in your families and churches walking through adoption. As we share the burden and serve each other with love, may God fill our homes and churches with children grafted in through adoption.

Want a reminder of how you can help? Print this PDF and put it on your refrigerator or filing cabinet. There’s two per sheet–one for you and one for a friend.

http://www.hedua.com/blog/support-adopting-families/

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