Although adoption has been around for a long time, many people are still unsure what to do to support an adoptive family. Because of this, many adoptive families are left wondering why no one is excited for their family or wants to help. But just as a family bringing home their biological infant from the hospital needs help, so does an adoptive family-no matter the age of the child. Adoptive families are adjusting to a new routine and to a new addition to their family. Life will never be the same for them again.
Here are some practical ways that you can love and support a family who is adding to their family through adoption.
1. Host an adoption party. Just as you would host a baby shower for an expectant mother, you can also host an adoption party to provide some of the items the family may need. If the adoptive family adopts an infant, then this can look very similar to a baby shower with guests bringing diapers, wipes, clothes, and other baby needs. If the family is adopting an older child, then you may want to plan something more age-appropriate. Host a barbecue and plan for everyone to bring gifts for the child. Or plan a smaller party at a restaurant, inviting close friends and family. The important thing to remember is that this is an opportunity for you to welcome the child into your circle and to let the adoptive family know you are excited for them and want to support them.
2. Send gift cards. This point is especially helpful for families bringing home an older child. You can be a blessing by giving them opportunities to bond as a family. Movie, restaurant, and entertainment gift cards can be a tremendous blessing to a family as they get to know one another. With a new addition to the family, normal family activities can become more expensive, especially if they are still paying for their adoption fees.
3. Bring them meals. Even though there is no physical recovery involved with adopting, there is still a period of emotional and psychological adjustment to suddenly adding to the family. You can help ease part of a new family's load by blessing them with a meal or two. There are several online websites that provide an easy-to-plan schedule for meal drop-off. You don't have to do anything fancy. Even just picking up some fried chicken from the local fast food place can show the family that you just want to support their adoption.
4. Volunteer to help with some of the chores. This is actually a great way to get your kids involved in supporting adoption. Your teens can mow the lawn, while the younger kids can rake the leaves. Offer to clean the house for them. Most likely, the adoptive family is going to be so overwhelmed and exhausted with the stress of a new schedule and trying to bond with their new family member that mundane household chores will be the last thing on their minds. You may even think about doing some of these things if the family has had to travel to meet their child. What a blessing it will be for them to return home to find all of these things have been taken care of while they were away.
5. Provide free babysitting. Just like with any new addition to the family, the couple can often get lost in spending so much time with their child that they forget to spend time together. Give them a break and an opportunity to get out of the house. You can also offer to babysit the other children in the home while the parents spend some one-on-one time with their newly-adopted child. This can be key to helping the bonding process go more smoothly. Just make sure that you spend time making the other children feel just as valued.
6. Donate your gently used toys and clothing. Do you have items around your house that your kids don't need anymore? Consider donating them to the adoptive family. They probably are already reeling from all of the expenses they have paid for the adoption, so helping to alleviate the need for them to buy a lot of items can be a huge help.
Don't be afraid to ask the adoptive family what they need. In some cases, they may be all set and just want your company. In other instances, there may be many things they need but are too shy to ask for. If you're unsure what to do, the best thing is to reach out and let them know that you support them. But staying silent can only make the adoptive family feel insecure and uncertain about whether their family will still be accepted by you.