The adoption journey can be long and emotional for many adoptive families. For new parents, having a support system during the adoption process can make a world of difference.
If you have a friend or family member going through the adoptive process, here are a few ways to support them and show your love.
How To Support Loved Ones Pursuing Adoption
While this article will provide specific tips for how to support your loved ones, the most important thing is letting them know you’re there. Make sure you ask what help is needed and what areas of their life need the most support.
During The Waiting Process
While your loved ones are waiting for the perfect fit for their family, there are a few areas that you can help with to make sure they know you are there for them.
1. Provide emotional support
Emotional support can include checking up on important days during their process, asking questions about how they’re feeling, and creating a welcome and open space for your loved ones to know they can lean on you.
2. Offer financial support
Adoption can be a long and expensive journey for many people which causes extra stress. Whether you can donate some of your own money to their process, help them raise funds through your community, or research agencies and organizations that can help, financial support can take a large burden off your loved one.
3. Learn about the adoption process
The adoption process is very complicated, but understanding the basics of what your loved ones are going through can help you be the best supporter possible. At this stage you have the most time to research and understand what your loved ones are going through and which parts of the process might be the most difficult.
During The Placement Process
Once your loved ones have received the call that their family is growing, there is cause for celebration and excitement. Help support your friends or family through this phase by celebrating and preparing with them.
1. Host a celebration
Unlike when a person gets pregnant or starts a family in a more traditional way, adoptive parents may miss out on common celebrations like baby showers. Help them to get excited and show them how much love is around them by hosting a shower or celebration for everyone to attend.
2. Help them prepare
Anytime there’s a new addition to the family, there is a lot of preparation to be done. Maybe a room needs to be set up or the house needs to be baby-proofed, or maybe your loved ones just need to mentally and emotionally prepare for the shift. Be there for your loved one on all of these fronts and offer the time and support that you can to make sure they’re ready.
After The Placement Process
Whether this is the first child welcomed to the family or the fourth, the adjustment period when becoming parents can be stressful and daunting for many people. With the support of friends, family, and community, this time can be easier for new parents.
1. Help with household tasks
Adding a new person to the family means added loads of laundry, dishes, and mess. If you have the time, stop by to help cook a meal, fold some clothes, or clean up a little bit. Even small help or company during a chore can help keep new parents sane and on top of their new schedule.
2. Learn about adoptive parenting challenges
Becoming an adoptive parent adds a set of challenges that biological parents may not experience. Do some research on common behaviors, challenges, and topics that may come up for your loved ones. Having a basic knowledge of adoption issues will help you to be there for your loved ones during this emotional time.
3. Help with errands or childcare
Getting out of the house to pick up dry cleaning or go to the grocery store can be a lot harder when there are more people than you’re used to in your house. To help make this process easier for your loved one offer to watch some or all of the kids for an hour or stop by the deli on your way home to pick up dinner. Big and small offers of help can go a long way.
4. Offer grace and leave judgment at the door
As your loved one adjusts to their new life, there will be times they feel overwhelmed and question the decisions they make. Make sure you are open and empathetic to their struggles and offer them advice from a place of love not a place of judgment. Let them know they’re allowed to make mistakes and that you’re there to listen.
The adoption process can be long and difficult for many people. Having a support system can make the whole journey easier and less stressful. If you have a loved one who is going through the process, these tips can help you become part of that support system to make the change and new experience more manageable.
This article was written exclusively for Love What Matters by Anna Steingruber. Join the Love What Matters family and subscribe to our newsletter.
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