Monday, July 6, 2015

How to Support a Friend Who Has Adopted an Infant

Dear Sugar,

Most likely, you are a mom-by-adoption or mom-by-adoption-to-be.  This post is for you.  Because when you adopt, many people don't know what to do.  They might say or do the wrong things (or nothing at all).  Though these nearest-and-dearest are by no means malicious, they are ignorant of adoption, as most of the general public is.  So please, pass this along, helping them know how they can support you and others like you, those who choose to adopt.    Here you go:


Throw her a baby shower.   With her blessing and her schedule confirmed, throw your friend (or the couple) a baby shower.  The new baby will need many things!
Talk to her about depression.  New moms by adoption can have post adoptiondepression, similar to moms who give birth who develop postpartum depression.  This may set in just a few days to over a few months after the baby is placed with your friend. 

Take her a meal.  Going from not being a mom, to being a mom, is overwhelming for any woman. 
Take your friend a comforting meal (something that re-heats easily) or a gift card to a local restaurant.  

Buy her baby picture books that support the beauty of adoption.   I have an extensive list of adoption-themed books in my first book, Come Rain or Come Shine: A White Parent’s Guide to Adopting and Parenting Black Children

Respect her family's privacy.  Adoption means that the family might have certain rules or constraints when it comes to sharing the baby’s photo and personal information. 

Don't probe.  If your friend wants to share information with you regarding their adoption situation, she will.  And any information she shares with you should remain with you.  You can say, "What would you like to share with me about your adoption journey?"

Don’t make any sarcastic or off-handed remarks about comparing her situation to yours.  Things like, “At least you got a baby without dealing with weight gain and stretch marks.”  Nothing about adopting is easy.  Your friend may have battled infertility, for example, and remarks about how “lucky” she was to avoid the hardships of pregnancy, labor, and delivery can be hurtful.

Give her an adoption-specific gift.  Try Encouragement for the Adoption and Parenting Journey: 52 Devotions and a Journal.

Finally, treat her as you would any new mom.  Be there for her.  Encourage her.  Answer her questions about what you've done with your children when she asks you.  Take her on a mom date.  SHE IS A REAL MOM, JUST LIKE YOU!  

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