Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Helping Friends in the Adoption Process - Part II

So, the family is coming home in a few days with their newly adopted child(ren), and you want to help in any way possible. What do you do to help them in ways that are effective, appropriate and needed? Here's a few suggestions:

  • Find out what size the new child is and leave an outfit for them! We had friends that went to pick up twin boys once. They realized that the children were smaller than they thought. So, several of us headed over to their house and set up the closet....we sorted all the clothes, made sure they were age/gender appropriate and organized it all.
  • Fill their refrigerator! We had sweet friends who went grocery shopping and did just that when we came home from Guatemala. They bought bottled water (knowing our tummies wouldn't be used to this water after being gone), fresh fruit, milk, eggs, etc. so that we wouldn't have to spend any time in the grocery store for the first week! That was a HUGE blessing!
  • Clean their house! Adopted children are generally used to some kind of order (a schedule, a routine), so having the house in order is big! We had friends come over and take down all of our Christmas decorations because it would be too overwhelming for our son..that was such a great way to help! Gather a few friends and make sure their home is ready for their arrival!
  • Take them a meal! We love the for making sure that one person coordinates all the food. The coordinator can give specific instructions on allergies, aversions, directions, etc. for people to follow. Plus, they can even have a drop-off point if no visitors are allowed for a while!
  • Meet them at the airport! While a crowd can be overwhelming for a new child, the parents often appreciate the show of support. Be sure to follow the parents' lead on talking to/engaging the child!
  • Respect the boundaries. Every adoptive family will have boundaries that they need to set so that they can bond with their own child. This may involve not picking up the child or asking for affection. It may require no visits for several months. It may not always make sense or seem reasonable to family and friends. But, that family will know details that you may not...respect the boundaries set forth and encourage others to do the same.
  • Encourage! When a family comes home, they need your encouragement. It may be a card, a phone call or an email...let them know that you are thinking of them and praying for them!
  • Offer to take their other children so that the parents can have time alone with their new child. It may only be an hour or two, but this is such a gift for a parent. Quality alone time is essential to the bonding process and you can encourage it by helping with childcare!
The biggest help you can be to a newly adoptive family is to let them know that you care and are thinking of them. They may have to retreat for a little while and cocoon as a family. Reach out to them and let them know that they are not alone! This process is just beginning.....

Jett in a costume that someone handed down to him...he adored being a superhero!
A shower that our friends gave us about a month after we came home!
A bag that my sweet sister-in-law gave me to carry Jett's "airplane attention" stuff in! He loved seeing his name in writing!


Lora Lynn @ Vitafamiliae said...

This is such a fantastic series. Can't wait to hear the rest.

Brook taylor said...

From a family that has not adopted but has many friends that have....thank you!!!! This is such a huge help. Keep it comin' mama T!!!

Naomi said...

This is great! Thanks for putting it together. We are waiting to adopt domestically and this is valuable info to share with family and friends.

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