For those of you with friends who are newly adoptive parents (even ones who have adopted previously):
Please remember to ask a newly adoptive parent how they are adjusting, and how their other children are adjusting as well as how the new kids are adjusting. Adjustment happens with everyone. Every single family member. And it’s hard work.
And if you feel moved, offer help. Real help. Don’t say “is there anything we can do for you?” because adoptive parents are exhausted and can’t even answer whether or not they want a cup of coffee. Instead say “I want to do the grocery shopping for you. I’ll be by later (or tomorrow)”, then come pick up the list and their credit card and do that shopping, or just offer to pick up some essentials. If you’re going to bring a meal (please offer to do that), make sure you know about food sensitivities or restrictions, plan to drop it off, give them a hug and a kiss, let them know you’re keeping them in prayer, and then leave them to it. And if you’re going to want to do something around the house, like laundry, dishes, cooking, baby cuddling, read alouds, that’s fantastic. Those are all excellent ways to help. I promise that your friend is more grateful than they even have the ability to express at this moment. Visitors are super stressful when they’re trying to acclimate new children, trying to form safe attachments.
If you haven’t seen your friend in quite awhile, you want to wait a bit before reuniting with them. They want to really enjoy that time, and so do you. There is a good chance that they are in such a funk that they won’t remember much of that time with you.
Please don’t ask them to do anything extra. They can’t do committee right now, or counsel anyone (they could probably use some wise counsel themselves). They can’t help plan a fundraiser or party, or even go to a party. I’m sure that they appreciate the invitation, but they are in full-on survival mode. Getting dressed up and socializing (and answering many, many questions by sweet people who are genuinely interested in their adoption), is more than they can reasonably handle. They would probably appreciate a really trustworthy babysitter or two to watch the kids so that they can have a quiet dinner at the local burger joint or pizza parlor, however. Or maybe they want to go make a holy hour together and grab a cup of coffee.
Adopting a child can be an even more difficult adjustment than welcoming a newborn.
We’re doing OK, but we’ve never been more exhausted in our lives. We’re struggling to keep up with our normal routine, and to shoulder the necessary work to help our new kids get integrated. Brian missed two weeks of work for which he was not paid. We didn’t get that covered with our fundraisers. We’re way behind on bills, and Christmas is a little uncertain. But we have our kids safely home and that is what is most important. God never promised that life in His service would be easy.
Posted with love and immense gratitude for all of the love poured out for our family during this time. We treasure your prayers.