My husband and I are adoptive parents, as I've mentioned in previous articles. We've been praying about adopting again and just recently we've been blessed with a new addition to our family.
As with any family, bringing home a new addition is a time of transition. We are blessed with a wonderful community who is supporting and encouraging us in our parenthood. Many have asked how they can help and it's made me stop to think. While bringing home an older child through adoption has a different set of challenges from bringing home a newborn, many of the supportive roles of friends and family can remain the same I think.
I've come up with a list of ideas of ways to help new foster/adoptive families. Again, I am beyond grateful for all the love and support we've received during this process and I can really see and feel the impact it's having on our growing family!
1. Set up a meal train for the family. It's so helpful to have time to bond without worrying about what's for dinner.
2. See if the new children need clothing or shoes. Foster children may not come with anything or they may have clothing that doesn't fit.
3. Ask if they need age-appropriate toys. This can include puzzles and games but also bikes and outdoor toys. Remember used items are still considered a "new toy" to these children.
4. Offer to take other kids already in the home out for play dates so they can get extra attention too.
5. Call to check in and really listen. Sometimes parenting adoptive children can be the same as parenting birth children, and sometimes it isn't. Adoptive parents, like anyone, sometimes just need to vent.
6. Please don't ask for details about the new child's life; it's their story to tell when and if they choose to share.
7. Offer to help clean the house or fold the laundry - again, who has time or energy for that when you're bonding with a new child?
8. Offer to help get the room/house ready for the child. Sometimes foster/adoptive families get only a few days to prep before the children are brought home. We've had as little as one day to buy and build a bed and dresser as well as prepping the house. My husband's friends came and did it in an evening and it was so helpful.
9. Everyone loves a rocking chair; perhaps you have one they could borrow to see if they child enjoys it before they purchase one.
10. Finally, a simple smile and hug can go a long way with any tired parent.
No matter how children come home, there are periods of transition, sleepless nights, and beautiful moments of bonding. Prayers are always appreciated as families grow and develop together!
Copyright 2016 Courtney Vallejo
About the Author
Courtney Vallejo is a convert to the Catholic faith. She and her husband are homeschooling parents of three adopted children. She loves speaking at women's groups and Catholic conferences! Courtney is a Barton tutor for Dyslexic children. She writes for her own blog, CourtneyVallejo.com. She is also the co-founder of AMomRevolution.com and has a master's degree in Film Production.