Monday, November 15, 2010

Helping friends in the adoption process...Phase I

As I look at the photos below, I remember back to a time over 4 years ago when Jim and Donna Houston gave us a picture of a little boy in an orphanage in Guatemala. I see the pain in his eyes of not having a family...I see the longing. I see the rebellious sinful nature in my own heart of ignoring the orphans for far too long....

Many times during the adoption process, friends and families are unsure how involved to be or what to do to help. So, in light of our God-given command to care for the orphans, how can you help someone who is adopting? The answer to this comes in several parts depending on the situation...the process of adoption, bringing a child home, losing a child or a child's referral in the process, and after the adoption. So, this post will address the first part of that...the process of adoption itself and how you can be a vital part!

You have friends who are adopting and you just don't know what to say sometimes or what to do to help... At times you find yourself helpless, wordless and without much to offer. But, you CAN help! Here are some ideas to help families in the adoption process:

  • Pray! First and foremost pray for the family. Pray specifically for God's peace and timing. Let them know that you are praying for them through notes and emails on a regular basis!
  • Inquire! Don't be afraid to ask for updates..they may not have any...but it's always comforting to know that your friends care!
  • Help your friends raise funds...most families have to raise quite a chunk of funds to adopt. Share their blog, host a yard sale, buy a t-shirt...actively help them to find ways to finance their endeavor. We had friends host a yard sale and people we had never met stepped up to donate goods. We held it at a friend's yard-sale-friendly-location and raised over $4000!
  • Encourage your friends weekly (if not daily). Simple reminders that you are thinking of them and support their adoption are so important. You don't have to know the emotions they are facing to encourage them. Send Scriptures and encouraging words that benefit!
  • Ask questions! Find out about the adoption process and what all it takes to bring a child home. Be diligent in your research and know what they are facing. Be informed and educate yourself with the terminology - know what they are talking about when they say dossier, referral, abandonment...
  • If they have other children, offer to keep them for a day so that the adoptive family can run those much needed errands which often are not family friendly - for example, courthouse offices, medical exams, state representatives' meetings! I had a friend who offered this regularly...what a huge blessing.
  • Your ear...this is one of the most helpful things you can give your friends...a listening ear. Just hear their hearts...the joys, the venting, the pain, the struggle...offer no opinion or insight...just listen and encourage!
  • Through the wonder of Facebook I thought of another one...get the names and contact information of the family's social worker, adoption agency (if using one), attorney....send a note to him/her with thanks for their time, energy and help in the process. They are so important to the adoption journey! On our adoption venture with Jett, we were blessed to work with Herbie Newell (Lifeline), Jenn Knierim, and Lauren who made his homecoming a reality!
Next time, we'll discuss what to do while the family is away for the adoption process and what to do when they come home! You can be an integral part of James 1:27 by helping other families bring their children into forever families!

1 comment:

Nancy said...

So many people need to see this post!
Jett is so cute & little in these pictures! Times a flyin' by!