Friday, October 15, 2010

What to Expect When Adopting from "hard' Places

More of What to Expect the First Year- A re-post from

I'm posting this fabulous information that I wish I had when I was doing International Adoption Home Studies and Post Placement Supervision.  This is valuable information. Gina
As a follow up to my last post, I am re-posting what my dear friend, Shawna, added in the comments (in case you don't read the comments). She is 100% accurate on this.

What newly adoptive parents need the first year from their friends and church family:

1. The first year for parents who adopt children from "hard places" is totally consuming. Regardless of how old the children are, expect that the parents will be as consumed as parents of a newborn baby...with colic. If they are adopting more than one, it will be like having multiples....with colic...and probably food allergies too...just to give some perspective.

2. A wonderful "gift" for adoptive families is to free them up to parent. Intentionally parenting in a way that leads to healing for their children will be absolutely requires 110%, and no one else can do it. But, someone else can: cook, clean, organize clothing, shop, drive, take the dog to the vet, mow the lawn, etc.

3. Another great "gift" that a church can give is to completly release adoptive parents from any and all obligations they have to serve at church. They may think that they can continue to serve, but they can't. (And for that matter, release mom from any obligation to do anything for at least one year....including answer the phone!)

4. Also, during that first year, don't expect that adoptive parents will be able to get away without the kids much. As with a newborn baby, the children will benefit from mom and dad's constant presence in the short term. However, a trusted person who is willing to provide short-term child care, like while mom and dad grab some dessert after bedtime,or so mom can take a walk during naptime, can be helpful.

5. And finally, remember that for the first year, and beyond, these parents will be working so hard to gain their children's trust and win their hearts. As support people, believe it or not, some of what we intend for good can actually be detrimental to this process. Indulging the children with "stuff" or experiences, for example, can compete with the bonding process.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Your Questions Answered: Showers of Blessing

Q: We have a family in our church with four children who will soon be welcoming a sibling group of foster children into their home. We would like to have a "shower" for them, but we know they may not need more stuff (or maybe they do?). What would you recommend we, as a church, do to help them?

A: We have been INCREDIBLY blessed by our brothers and sisters in Christ as they have come around us this past year to shower us with blessings of help, resources, and encouragement. The Church can be an extremely huge blessing to a family entering the journey of fostering or adopting a large sibling group (or even a small sibling group!). In fact, I would say that the church is ESSENTIAL for the family to be able to make it through the hard first year.

Here are some things that I know would be very helpful:

MEALS - Deliver dinner every night. For a long time. Months, probably. Think of it as if they just birthed sextuplets! 

If it is DHS, they'll probably be getting money for the new child(ren)'s needs
(like diapers and clothes), 


try to think of gifts for the whole family. . . things they probably wouldn't purchase themselves.

-a "Summer Fun" gift box with new beach towels and a family pass to the zoo

-a "Winter Fun" gift box with sleds, hot cocoa, and matching mugs.

A shower to celebrate could be fun, but make sure the guests know that gift cards to Target or money would probably be appreciated more than a whole bunch of toys and gifts for the kids.
AND, keep the shower as low key as possible or have it before the new children arrive. There are a thousand reasons for this (I would be happy to expand on this if anyone wants - just leave a comment).

These are my thoughts, but another family might think something totally different,
so I think I would approach the family and say:
"Hey, we really want to celebrate with you and we were thinking that__________might be a fun way to do that. Would that be helpful to you, or would something else better meet your needs?"

Those are my thoughts based on what we have needed this past year. In retrospect, I had NO IDEA how much support and help we would need and I am so thankful for it. I am especially thankful for the help and support that was given before we had to ask. Most of the time I was so busy and overwhelmed, I didn't even know to ask or who to ask. It was nice that it just came! 


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