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Support, Love, Serve, and Celebrate

November 13, 2012

It’s easy to know what to do when a family is about to give birth to a child. If you’re a good friend, you throw a baby shower; you might even help clean or watch kiddos when the expectant momma is nearing the end of her pregnancy. You might volunteer to watch any other kiddos when she goes into labor. You might start a meal calendar so she doesn’t have to cook those first two weeks home with a new born. We’ve been doing this forever, we know what to do.

When a family enters into the adoption journey, we sometimes forget that they need the same, if not even greater support. 

Adoption takes a community. It takes a family of friends and loved ones gathering around to support, love, serve, and celebrate with a family that is growing through adoption.

SUPPORT:

Adoption is costly. Many families who have said yes to adoption are not sitting there with a pile of money ready to go. You can help by giving.

(And let’s just dismantle the notion that you shouldn’t have to give to an adoptive family because it is their choice to have a child, just like you don’t give to pay for the hospital bill of a family giving birth to a child. Rubish! It’s not the same thing at all. As one dear friend of mine has said for years about serving and giving and loving well, “You don’t have to, YOU GET TO!” It’s a privilege to give and support adoptive families, and I challenge you to give it a try. I’m 100% sure you will be blessed!)

Give Financially: Most families are able to set up ways for others to contribute that give the donors a tax deduction for charitable giving. It can be as easy as 300 people donating $100 can cover the cost of an average adoption.

Give of your Talent: I’ve seen artists, photographers, jewelers, you name it… donate services or products to sell for adoption fundraisers. One of my clients had a friend donate bracelets and this simple little jewelry sale raised $1000, then to top it all off her uncle agreed to donate an additional $5 for every bracelet sold! My son raised $5000 for our international adoptions by donating his time as a photographer doing family photo shoots in our local community, he was 15 years old. Anyone can give!

Give of other Resources: Donate flight miles for travel, discounts on hotel or hotel points, donate a condo or time share in the area where the family is traveling, host an adoptive family in your home if they are traveling to your area. One sweet family was welcomed into the home of a widow after they called churches in the area where the daughter was going to be born to see if anyone might be willing to host them. They ended up developing a life-long relationship with this sweet woman. Having a place to stay at no cost to the adoptive family can save the family $1000-3000. What a gift!

Help with Fundraisers: Adoptive families often fundraise through hosting garage sales, benefit dinner, or other community events. Donate to yard sales, volunteer to cook for a fundraising dinner. Help gather  or donate items for an online auction or live/silent auction at a fundraising event. Auctions can contain donate items or services. (Be creative: babysitting services that include bringing pizza to feed the kids, hair cutting, massage gift certificates, house cleaning, whatever your gift or talent, GIVE!) 

LOVE:

Adoption is a journey of the heart. It is emotionally exhausting. A family who is in the process of adoption needs to be supported by love and friendship.

Listen- Be part of their journey by listening. Sometimes having someone listen is the most precious gift an adoptive parent can receive.

Pray- Pray for an adoptive family as they prepare for adoption and welcome a child into their home. Pray for financial provision, pray for emotional strength, pray for God to direct every step of their journey. One adoptive momma recently shared with me that her friend were hosting a “Prayer Shower” both before baby and after baby’s arrival. What a precious gift!

Ask–  Ask the simple questions: “How are you doing?” or “What can I do to help?” and insist on an answer. 

SERVE:

Adoption is hard work. Seemingly endless paperwork, traveling to welcome a child, traveling home, adjusting to life with a new family member. You can help ease the strain.

-Give Time: You can give the family time to complete paperwork by helping watch other children during the home study process, give the couple a “date night” so they can connect and work through adoption decisions and planning.

Child Care: If a family is traveling they may need support at home. Help with child care while they are away from home, or volunteer to travel with them to watch their child/children there. When they get home, this support is needed more than ever. Even a couple of hours a week volunteering to take other young children to the park, or even overnight for pizza and a movie, allows the new adoptive family to have time to bond and rest.

-Household: I’ve had adoptive families share with me that some of the most loving gifts they have received are gifts of service: house cleaning, providing meals, mowing the lawn, or other household projects. One family shared that their friends got together and gave their home a “deep clean” while they were out of state for their adoption. What a blessing to come home to a clean house! Another shared that she had a friend come over several times a week just to wash and put away dishes, help with laundry and other household chores. Larger families have been blessed by having friends manage their family’s carpooling needs to school, lessons, practice, etc.

CELEBRATE:

Celebrate with the family and rejoice with them over their new arrival. This is easy and so much fun!

Baby Shower: Yes, an adoptive family needs a baby shower too! If the family is adopting an older child or children, they need a shower too! Clothing, toys, you name it, they need it all! This can be before baby or after baby comes home as a welcome baby time!

-Meal Shower: So many great options for making this easy with online signups via websites like Meal Baby. Restaurant gift cards can be ordered and given through a website like this as well, so that out of town family and friends can share in this gift! This is one of the best gifts ever for an adoptive family.

-Food Shower: Fill an adoptive families cupboards and freezer with food, give a grocery story gift card.

-Hand Me Downs: Yes, we want your gently used baby/child items! Good quality car seats, strollers, baby carriers, clothing! Give it! A number of families (including my own) have been blessed by last minute drop offs when the adoption happens fast and there is not time to have a baby shower!

 

AND KEEP ON GIVING!

You may not be called to adopt, but we are ALL called to LOVE and you can be part of an adoptive family’s life for a lifetime of giving, supporting, loving, and celebrating. It doesn’t have to stop with the airport welcome committee. It CAN’T STOP THERE! Over the years we have been blessed to have many people give, serve, love, and celebrate way beyond our “Welcome Home” party.

ADOPT:  Yes, you can adopt an adoptive family. We have been blessed to have been adopted by some very precious people over the past few years. They have chosen us, adopted our children, taken on the role as extra grandparents, aunties, and uncles. They have given financially to us, sent gifts to our children, and prayed for us faithfully. If you are “too old” to adopt or “too young” to adopt, but have a heart for adoption, I urge you to adopt a family. You won’t regret it.

GIVE RESPITE: Give the gift of your time to baby sit whether for an evening so adoptive parents can have a date, or for a weekend to give them time to get away and reconnect. This is invaluable to any adoptive family.

SERVE: You can give of your time and talents. We have a wonderful young man who contacted us sharing his heart for adoption. He said, “One day my wife and I want to adopt, but for now we want to be available to serve your family.” He went on to share that he was talented as a contractor and would love to be available to do little fix it jobs for us. He’s been such a blessing!

WELCOME AND INCLUDE: Invite adoptive families over for dinner, include them in play groups or mom’s outings, call and text and let them know you continue to pray for them.

It’s never easy to ask for help, so it is my hope that this article will be helpful for adoptive families to share with their family and friends as a tool to help communicate their needs. I pray that those of you reading this who are not adopting but long to support adoption, will grab ahold of some of the ideas here and implement them. And be creative, this is just a guide, a tool to help you start! 

 

 

 

 

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