Five Way to Support Adoptive Families
Originally Posted on Joy Comes In the Morning
I was adopted at birth thirty-eight years ago. Back in 1976 adoption was a whole different ball-game, it was less expensive, and much more secretive. So much has changed in the world of adoption, some very good and positive things, some perhaps not so healthy, but I found through adopting our own children, that there remains a lot of confusion and misconception about adoption.
When my husband and I adopted our son almost ten years ago we had no idea what we were doing and very little money, but we had some wonderful family, friends, and church family that truly supported and encouraged us. And when we adopted our daughter, even more people gathered around us to help bring our sweet girl home.
If you are considering adoption, which I hope you do, then fantastic! There are so many children out there who are waiting for a forever family and it’s my prayer that every one of them finds a home. I firmly believe that if God wants a child in your home nothing will prevent it—not even lack of funds. If you have questions on how to get started, let me know, I’ll point you in the right direction.
But if you are not able, or ready, to adopt then here are some ideas for helping other families welcome a child into their home.
1. Pray for them: There are so many factors to consider in an adoption. Financing is usually the one that gets the most attention, but there are a lot of emotional factors to consider as well. Many families have dealt with infertility, so there are sometimes wounds that need healing before a child is adopted. There are also a lot of up and downs, and sometimes frustrations and disappointments, during the process—which can be as little as a few months, or as long as two to three years. If it is a domestic adoption there are usually birthparents involved and prayer for good and healthy relationships with them is also very helpful.
2. Give generously within your means: Adoption is expensive in most cases. It’s not something covered by insurance, like childbirth, and there are very few loans or grants available. As a young family, we could not have possibly afforded our adoptions without the kindness and generosity of family and friends who listened to God’s voice and donated to our adoption fund. It is my prayer that every church in this country would have an adoption fund to aid families that desire to adopt. I believe this is obedience to a direct commandment by God to take care of the “widows and orphans”. If your church does not actively raise funds for adoptions, pray about how you can help to bring that about. If every church in America supported just one family to adopt one child there would be no waiting children in the foster care system. Not one.
3. Help fundraise: Our sweet church family did so much to help us raise funds for our adoptions. Garage sales, bake sales, online tee-shirt sales, there are so many ways to help families raise the money needed to bring their child home. Go online and do a search for adoption fundraisers and then organize it for them. If that child is meant for that family, there is nothing that will stop it, so roll up your sleeves and be part of the miracle. Believe me, you will be amazed at how God provides!
4. Treat new adoptive families like new birth families: Do the same things you would for a new mama and daddy—throw a fabulous baby shower (or welcome party for an older child), buy gifts or offer hand-me downs, make meals for them for a couple weeks, offer to come help clean or hold the baby while new mommy sleeps. Remember that even though an adoptive mother hasn’t given birth physically, she is still going through the emotional roller-coaster of adjusting to life with a baby and lack of sleep. At times adoptive mommies even experience symptoms similar to post-partum depression. I know I did. Be considerate as well to families adopting older children who may have special needs or emotional issues, they will need prayer support, encouragement, generosity and sometimes a shoulder to cry on, or maybe just a night out with their spouse.
5. Be gracious in your choice of words: It is very difficult for adoptive parents to have someone ask about the child’s “real” mother or father. Using the terms birthmother/birthfather or biological mother/father is great. And on a side note—out of respect to the birthparents, please say “placed for adoption” instead of “given up”. The act of placing a child for adoption with another family is a gut-wrenching, courageous decision, they are not “giving the baby up”, they are making the best choice for their child. These gentle words are especially important when speaking with the adopted child too, to help them understand what a special and loving decision placing a child for adoption truly is.
In many Christian circles I hear the term “Don’t GO to church, BE the Church” and I believe there is no better way to be the Church that to support adoptions and foster-care within the body of Christ. So pray about how you can be the Hands and Feet to orphans in this country, and abroad. Everyone can be involved—adopt, foster, pray or give.