Tuesday, November 30, 2010

A referral is gone....

Your friends/family are adopting, and you have been actively engaged in their process. Everyone is excited...clothes are purchased, a room is ready, fundraising is ongoing, prayers are said daily...and then, the unthinkable happens.

The referral is gone....the birth parents want the child back, the child was mistakenly not eligible for adoption, there was a mixup in the paperwork, or even worse, the child dies. The adoptive parents are heartbroken, and you have no idea what to do....

We've seen many parents go through this tragedy, and it is a grieving process for everyone involved. So, let the grieving begin. Know that the parents may react differently depending on how they handle grief. You want to console, comfort and encourage...but how? Here are some practical ideas for walking with adoptive parents through the process:

  • First and foremost, seek God's wisdom in how to respond. He alone knows our hearts and the brokenness felt at this very moment. Seek His divine comfort and the knowledge that He can give you.
  • Send flowers. It's not a funeral but parents have lost their child....even if they never held him/her. The grief is just as painful and real.
  • Send a note or email of comfort. Make sure you don't give reasons for the loss but seek to acknowledge the pain and hurt of the situation. Assure them that you are there to walk with them through the journey.
  • Serve....perhaps clean their house, run errands, call others who need to know, take care of their other children (if applicable)....
  • Give....take their favorite meal or snack...do what they love best.
  • Listen and be physically present....while nothing you can say can take the pain away, sometimes the physical presence of another is comforting. Not all people like this but in some cases, it can be an act of pure love.
  • Call....maybe the mom or dad doesn't even want to talk about the loss at first. But, there will come a time when they need someone to talk to! Be that person...make yourself available...don't put people on a time schedule. Grief is different for each person...be open to a different plan!
  • Acknowledge - whatever you do, acknowledge the pain involved and the hurt that it has caused. Encourage your friend to grieve and be there to listen (without fixing anything) and comfort!
You can be a vital part of the grieving process for adoptive parents. Adoption is always a heart-risking process that can be painful and terrifying. Know that your friends/family need you to walk the entire journey with them and not just the good parts!

*As a side note, some of you have asked if we still have a referral. Yes, by the grace of God, we do. We hope to go get our son in Uganda soon!

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