Over the next while I’m going to be sharing a bit of an adoption series on how you can support adoptive families. I’ve had this series idea in my head for a long time but wanted to wait until we were done each step before sharing. If you have adopted before I’d love for you to add your thoughts in the comment section!
You can also check out the other posts in this series:
So, a couple around you has just announced they are adopting. Maybe they are family, close friends or just an acquaintance, but you are wondering what you should do. In most areas adoption is the exception, not the norm so it can leave you feeling a little clueless on how to act.
This post is born from being on the other side of the fence – being the ones that announce that they are adopting.
Up until our announcement we never knew anyone that had adopted, not really anyway, we knew of a few people but that was it, we didn’t actually know them so we were walking into very unknown territory.
Here are some ways you can support the family after they announce their intention to adopt:
The couple has probably spent the last few weeks/months/years researching adoption and agencies and they will probably be more than excited to share some of their knowledge with you.
Questions you ask could include:
– which country are you adopting from?
– what agency are you working with?
– have you specified a gender or certain age?
– what is the process like through your province/state/agency/country? (because they vary so much!)
– have you started your homestudy? what is all involved in that?
– what is your next step?
LOOK UP THE COUNTRY ON A MAP
Nothing will be more embarrassing than later finding out they are travelling to pick up their child and not even knowing where the country is in the world. Take the time early on to look it up on a map.
RESPECT THEIR PRIVACY
We were really quite open about the process (partly because we were hoping other people around us would be feel called to adopt) but I know some people don’t want to talk about adoption stuff. You’ll find out after trying to ask a few questions if your friends are those kind of people, and if they are, just respect that.
KNOW THAT THE WAITING IS HARD
Honestly, I’ve never done anything harder than wait. I loved it when friends would acknowledge that the waiting sucks and would try to alleviate the pain of waiting by helping me keep busy and checking in frequently to see how it’s going (and actually wanting to know). I’m pretty sure the emotions that go on during the waiting period are equivalent to those I felt during pregnancy, except that when you are pregnant you know that it will end in 9 months, not so with adoption waiting.
Some families are able to fully fund their own adoptions while others are not. If your friends are in need of financial help, think of it as your way to help with the orphan crisis in the world, don’t judge them, just support them. You can also create your own fundraiser for them, but be sure to check with them first!
DON’T TELL ADOPTION HORROR STORIES
Chances are, they’ve researched adoption and have heard or read about many adoption horror stories already as it is, they don’t need to know the horror story of your friend’s boyfriend’s sister.
JUST BE SUPPORTIVE
Ask if there is anything you can do but know that during this stage there usually isn’t. Just being a supportive friend who cares speaks volumes to us.
Pray often, and let them know you are doing so. Prayers are powerful and your friends need them.
If you have adopted, what else would you add to ways people could
show support in this after announcement stage?