Tuesday, February 19, 2019

How To Support Your Loved One Who Is Adopting a Child

Your friend or family member has announced some BIG news:  adoption plans!   And if you're wondering, how do I support him or her on this journey?  What are the right words and actions?  

If you're feeling perplexed, you are aren't alone.  

When we were waiting to adopt, especially the first time, we received a lot of well-intentioned responses...but many of them just weren't helpful.  Instead, they were often awkward, uncomfortable, or just "off."  

All is not lost.  You CAN support and support well.  

1:  Ask how they're doing.

Avoid always asking, "Have you heard anything?" or "Anything new?" (both of which is baby-focused).   Instead, ask, "How are you doing with the adoption journey?" and "How can I best support you right now?"  Then, support!  

2:  Offer to host a waiting-for-baby shower.

So many times, adoptive parents are overlooked.  Just because we are building our family in a non-traditional, less-common way, doesn't mean we aren't real parents with true desires to celebrate.  A shower might be more appropriate after the child is placed in the family.  And speaking of baby-showers, don't forget that a shower might be appreciated for an older child.  

3:  Learn as much as you can.

Learn about adoption:  the terminology, the process, the post-adoption needs, and parenting adoptees.  Two great books to check out (for friends and family) include In On It: What Adoptive Parents Would Like You to Know About Adoption and Adoption is a Family Affair.  Attend an adoption conference alongside your adoptive-parent friend or family member.  Ask your friend or family member for resources. 

4:  Be honest, yet balanced.

It's OK to have your own parenting struggles, to have a biological child (and announce the pregnancy), etc.  If you avoid all "child talk" with your friend or family member who intends to adopt, it will be sensed (AWKWARD) and become an issue in your relationship.  On the other hand, going on and on and on about your breastfeeding struggles gets annoying and uncomfortable for your loved on.  Be sensitive to your friend or family member's journey, but don't hide behind your own.  

5:  Be thoughtful.

Send a "thinking of you" card, buy them an adoption book or a book for their future child, take them on a coffee date (just because), etc.  You know your loved one well:  what would best minister to them as they wait?  

How have you learned to support those who are choosing to adopt? 

No comments:

Post a Comment

Comments are moderated and published upon approval. Your thoughts and questions are also welcome via e-mail at whitebrownsugar AT hotmail DOT com.