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Episode 55

How to Bless an Adoptive Family

Adoptive Families

You’re listening to together by AGCI. I’m Marisa Butterworth.

Our team has the pleasure of walking alongside adoptive families, and we get to hear about both the immense challenges and the incredible miracles of adoption. One thing that we hear a lot about is how God uses regular people like you and me to come alongside adoptive families and shower them with support. We thought that it would be fun to do a podcast full of adoptive parents calling in to share about what others did that helped them with the most during their adoptive journey from the paperwork stage to the weight itself, to their child actually coming home to adapting to life with an amazing new addition to the family.

I love these stories, and they really and truly fill my heart with hope and inspiration. If you are an adoptive parent, my hope is that you’ll listen in and share this with your friends and family that are asking how they can help. Sometimes we don’t know what we need until we’ve gone through it, and maybe this will help as you prepare.

If you know and love an adoptive family, get ready to take notes on how people have come alongside others and take these ideas so that you can spoil those that you care about.

OK, let’s jump right in. All right. What did others do that helped you the most during your adoption? Journey? This is such a great question, and I’m excited to share three things that come to mind when I think of what helped my family the most in our adoption journey. And our family is a family that’s been through adoption two times.

Different stories, different circumstances. But as I think about both of our adoptions, these are things that were helpful in both of those instances. So I want to share these three things with you. The first thing was really just to check in. Sometimes people don’t know a lot about adoption or maybe they don’t know what to say or not to say.

And while I certainly appreciate that sensitivity, what can be even more difficult is people not checking in with you or not talking to you about it. So I appreciate just the friendships and relationships and people that we had in our world that would just check in and see how things were going and see how they could be supportive of us.

That was really important. The second thing is maybe something that was more helpful to not do, which was really just around avoiding unsolicited advice. Something that is really common for some in the adoption journey might be hearing from others about, you know, maybe like thing. I had a friend who adopted and this is what happened and then, you know, fill in the blank with something maybe really negative, maybe something positive.

But the thing is, there’s thousands and thousands of people that adopt. Every story is a little different. Every process is a bit different. And just hearing that unsolicited advice or hearing about another person’s journey, especially if it was really difficult, isn’t always something helpful when you’re in the midst of what can in fact, be a difficult time and process.

The third thing would be to just to celebrate and care for us and in our journey in the same way that you would for any friends or family member that was building their family, regardless of how they were choosing to do that. So that includes things like having baby showers or providing meals to support the family after the child component joins your family.

So if it’s something that would be a way to celebrate and support and embrace a family building that was, you know, building your family biologically, then it might also be helpful. Even though the is being built through adoption So those are three things that come to mind, and I hope that they’re helpful. Thank you so much. I would say that probably what meant the most was how much support we had around us, not just through prayer, but also in the excitement that others share, that just as if we were pregnant.

So there was baby showers. And when we came home, we had a stork in our yard. And I was invited to all kinds of mothers things that I wouldn’t have been aware of had I not had the opportunity like of others, including me and those kinds of things that people are included in when they have biological children, adoptive families, just need to know that they have your support at all stages of the process.

Families can wait for months or really years to bring their children home and from experience, we waited about three years. You just never, ever stop thinking about your child out there, even if you have no idea who they are yet. I love what this next caller shared. My family adopted two boys from Ethiopia, and we are now in the process to adopt a child from Haiti.

Several things that others did that helped this during our journeys are, number one, ask how the process is going. Adoption can be a long and lonely time, so it means a lot to know that others think about it and care. Number two, financial gifts. Adoption is very expensive, so every little bit helps. Number three, it definitely helps. If you know someone who has been through the adoption process before or who has been to the country you’re adopting from.

Use them as a resource to learn all you can while you wait. Number four. Last but not least, prayer. It means so much to know that others are reaching out to God on your behalf. We had people call in and share how important their relationship was with other adoptive families through this process, and I really have to agree with them.

I just love this I would definitely say what help us want was just being with other adoptive families and just knowing that it’s definitely a journey and sometimes, you know, they’re not so much like your biological kids, and that’s okay. It’s it’s not weird or abnormal and there’s different things you have to deal with some some great and some not so great, but have another families.

I think that she can lean on and talk to and ask questions, too. And just kind of share each other’s stories. And, you know, it’s nice to have people that that she can count on to to know that you’re not alone and, you know, things can be great and not so great and that’s okay. But you love your child and just have a lot with them.

And like, I’m kind of rambling here, but I will just say I’m so thankful to around probably four or five families that we’ve gotten to know in our adoption journey. And I love those guys and super grateful for them and, and just happy to see the road ahead. I really feel like gathering a strong support system during our adoption journey was the most important thing that we did and that in turn, others did for us.

Our family was supportive, but no one in our family had ever adopted before, so they could only be so helpful. And I felt like I was educating them, even though they were being supportive at the same time. So getting to know other families who were adopting at the same time or as recently adopted was the most helpful thing for us.

We knew a few local families who helped us choose our Homestudy agency. I also joined a couple of adoption groups online and met other local families through our Homestudy agency. Those families were there for the hard times and the times that we got to celebrate. We in turn were able to support them through their journeys. We adopted our kids over 20 years ago, and I’m still in touch with many of those same adoptive parents.

May they have become some of my most dear friends, so I would highly recommend creating a support system early in your adoption journey, and they can be with you throughout the process. They’re going to just really support you and really do everything they can for you during your journey. Thanks. I think one of the things that was the most helpful was actually something that was not really a physical gift, but it was when some friends of ours just had offered to take all of our kids for an afternoon and they let my wife and I go home and just take a nap because we had been so tired.

Our adopted baby, our daughter was not sleeping through the night and she actually didn’t sleep through the night for about five years. And so you just always so tired. And they just offered to take all three kids and for the afternoon and just hang out while we went home and took a long, glorious nap. Um, it’s funny how just little things like that are, um, I mean, you know, among all the amazing things that people, you know, gifting us with formula and doing yield trains and fundraising and all of that kind of stuff.

But it’s funny that that one really sticks out to me as, as being so helpful. This is really something so simple, but what a huge gift that was. So many adoptive parents and kids struggle with sleep when they get home. I would just add that when you make your offer to help make sure to be sensitive to where that family is at in their attachment process, they might not even like in their heads be there yet as that being an option.

But I promise you, they’ll feel so loved just knowing that you wanted to help even if they aren’t ready for that yet. When we were adopting our son, we were traveling to South Africa for an extended period of time, and my mother actually traveled with us, and while we were in-country, she did schooling for our other kids and watched them during the day so that we could have attachment and bonding time with our newly adopted son.

And that was really meaningful for us and really helped us in our adoption journey. Oh, my gosh. Mother of the Year right there where helped me most in the journey to adoption was a fellow adoptive parent telling me about their journey sharing their stories, offering resources. I felt really equipped going into our adoption because the conversation that I had had with adoptive parents about attachment and recommended reading on attachment and just ideas about how to cocoon with our kids when we got home and ideas around hope, healthy attachments and things to avoid things for women to I just felt really resource and that was nice.

I knew it was still going to be unpredictable, but just knowing that I had access to resources that was in the pre deals. I mean we had people supporting me in the showers and the tea parties and the contributing all were really beautiful things.

And I think those felt like supportive and encouraging. But what felt really most like equipping was the adoptive parents. And then once we were all home after our travel, adoption, travel meals were amazing. Coffee drop offs were amazing. I particularly remember people supporting and really practical ways. We had a really hard sleep adjustment and just had a few friends who were like, We’ll play in your backyard and you can take a nap and that felt really helpful.

Just plain, just giving me an hour of like a rest because we were having problems sleeping at night with our child’s adoptive child. I think to like even just people being supportive of the healthy attachment when you’re trying to cocoon and do all the right things to make sure healthy attachment happens, I think it’s different than when you bring a bio kid home and everybody gets to come over, hold your child and experiences things and you want to do things differently for healthy attachment with your adopted child.

I love all of that. Naps, meals, coffee, drop baths, and respecting and supporting the work that you’re doing for healthy attachment. That makes all the difference. And I can tell you that feels so good. It feels good to be seen. When we adopted our oldest daughter, we had gone to the hospital to wait for the baby to be born.

And while we were there, the birth parents, grandparents, had some friends who came and just were there to support us. The birth parents, grandparents, and the Pre-adoptive parents while we waited in the hospital for a labor that lasted for a couple of days. And so we really appreciated the support of them just be there supporting us in the process.

Wow. What a profound gift that must have been. There’s just something about people being willing to enter in and support you in that kind of holy moment. Thank you so much for sharing that. I love hearing everyone’s stories of how people loved them through this process. Our family was personally so blessed to experience a lot of the same things our friends and family supported our fundraisers and found like really creative ways to help us financially.

And I have to include one of our friends did something incredible. They provided us with an interest free loan. When we found out that we had about 24 hours to come up with a lot of money towards the end, of the process that was that blew our minds. I will forever be grateful our family helped set up our daughter’s room.

My our our extended family, and they stayed with our older kids when it was time for my husband and I to travel friends through us multiple baby showers that were individually so special and just made it feel real for me. Even though we didn’t know exactly what the future held. They like loaded us up on everything they could think of.

We had diapers. We had formula, we had all the baby gear that we needed that we didn’t expect that we would need. We thought our child would be a little bit older. When she came home and really once our daughter was home, people brought us meals and someone brought us. They were also an adoptive family. Someone brought us like a grocery bag full of like fun snacks and drinks for our older kids to eat.

So that honestly, I didn’t have to think about it. And they felt super special. They just dropped them at our door so that they wouldn’t disturb anything. It was amazing. A friend of ours delivered a Costco box full of the baby formula that we used like full. She went out and bought all of that for us, which if you’ve given your baby formula, you know how expensive that is.

And in a time for us, when funds were very tight and like, I don’t think she even realizes the weight that that took off of our shoulders personally. Our I don’t exaggerate when I say our friends and family were the literal hands and feet of Jesus to us in those moments. I hope that you enjoyed listening to this special episode of Together by GCI.

A huge thank you to everyone that took the time to call in and share your stories.

If you like what you heard today, we would be honored if you’d share this episode. Make sure to follow us and rate and review us wherever you listen to podcasts. If you’d like to read or watch even more stories or learn about the work that we do at AGCI, go to our website at, or follow us on Instagram @allgodschildreninternational. Thank you so much for listening.