We’ve had a lot of exciting buzz around our church lately with some families completing certification classes for foster care and adoption, and some families beginning home studies for private adoptions. God has definitely been working among us to prepare hearts and homes to help precious children to become all He created them to be.
We’ve probably all known a family or two who have adopted children, and because each situation is so unique, I gotten lots of questions on how best to support them. So for this blog post, here are some ways we can help families in the process of adoption:
For a family announcing their adoption process, get excited with them! I tend to look at this phase as their “pregnancy,” because they ARE expecting. They are excited but probably a little scared about the uncertainty of things ahead, so help the time to pass by throwing a shower, helping to decorate a nursery, etc. When the family is united with their adoptive son or daughter, do what you would do for someone giving birth: fix meals, send cards, or offer to help with their other children.
- Be careful with your words.
I wasn’t aware of how insensitive some innocently spoken common phrases could sound until my family began to foster/adopt. For example:
- Saying, “Now that you’re adopting, you’ll get pregnant” – having children naturally isn’t better than having children through adoption, and adopting isn’t Plan B. Adoptive families, even infertile couples, have embraced the idea of adoption and are excited, so getting pregnant won’t “relieve” them.
- Referring to the child’s biological family/parent/sibling as their real family/parent/sibling – I am my adoptive daughter’s real mom.
- Referring to a child in foster care as a “foster child” – because being in foster care doesn’t define WHO they are. ←Yes, even I have been guilty of this one!
- Support them financially.
The cost of adoption is staggering. Friends and family who can invest their “treasures” to help a child be adopted will naturally invest their hearts as well. When you support a family adopting, in a way you take some responsibility for that child and he/she becomes part of your family too!
- Listen to them and pray for them.
The adoption process can be a roller coaster of emotions. Sometimes adoptive families may just need a listening. Prayer is also a treasure we can invest. We can offer our spiritual blessing, asking for provision, protection, and the perfect match.