Your friends are growing their family through adoption; that’s great! Preparing to welcome a child home is an exciting time, no matter how that child arrives. With adoption, though, there is an extra layer of support you can extend to your friends during the process. Here are six helpful ways to support hopeful parents in the adoption process:
Support Their Fundraising Efforts
The adoption process can be expensive for many families. Ask your friends if you can create a fundraiser for them like a garage sale or bake sale with the proceeds going directly to their growing family. If your friends are hosting a fundraising event to help offset the costs of the adoption process, consider bringing your own family to show support. Being present for them will be such a gift.
Whether it’s in the form of prayer or an encouraging note over coffee, your friends will appreciate your thoughtfulness as they continue navigating the complexities of the adoption process and preparing their home for a child.
The adoption process can be a long road for many hopeful families. Read about it; get familiar with the terms and phrases. When your friends share they’ve completed some part of the process like their home study or ICPC; it would be good to celebrate that milestone with them!
Welcome Them Home
These websites can help you arrange home-cooked meals for the new family while they settle into a routine.
Give Them Time to Bond
Attachment can take time. Adoptive parents didn’t have nine months to bond with their child in the uterus, and sometimes they may feel like they have to make up for lost time. Give your friends the time and space they need to connect with their child. And when you aren’t sure whether they’d like the company, ask them.
Use Positive Adoption Language
Be intentional with what you say and how you say it. Words matter, and it’s especially true when it comes from friends in the adoption process. Read about positive adoption language; learn alternatives to phrases like “giving up” or “real parent.”
Also, be considerate with your friends and how they guard their child’s story. Every child placed for adoption experiences the loss of a biological family, but the details are often different and can take time for adoptive parents and their child to process. Don’t be offended if your friends say, “That’s private,” or “That’s not our story to tell.” The new family may want to tell you about the adoption process, but be respectful and understand if they aren’t comfortable sharing the details.
Shelley Skuster is a former award-winning television journalist who traded in suit coats and red lipstick for a messy bun and yoga pants. She’s a freelance writer who stays at home with her three daughters who are all ((gasp)) under the age of three and came to her via adoption and birth. She’s the woman behind the blog Shelley Writes, and she can also be found on Facebook and Twitter.