Whenever we embark on a new adventure as a family, I do a ton of research. Books, blogs, documentaries, websites … it’s all fair game. And even before we started down the path to adoption, I read and watched as much as possible to inform our decision.
The one thing that scared me a little bit was reading all of the insensitive responses that adoptive parents had received on sharing the exciting news that they would be adopting. Things like “What are you thinking?” or “Why would you want to do that?” or “Why can’t you be happy with your own kids?”.
Our experience was completely different. Like, night and day different. So if you’re ever wondering what to say when friends share that they’re planning to adopt, here are five things that encouraged us:
1. “Congratulations!” – If in doubt, this should be the default response. A hug will add volumes to your pronouncement.
2. “That’s wonderful, how exciting!” – This is also a great default response. It is wonderful, and it is exciting that a family would be willing to open their arms and their home to a child that needs one.
3. “My friend/sister/hair stylist had an amazing adoption experience!” – Any not-so-amazing adoption stories should be saved for later … or not at all. Let’s face it, every possible venture in life has horror stories that can be told, but no one just starting out needs to hear them. But good stories, on the other hand, are encouraging and motivating!
4. “Do you need a reference?” – As long as you’re prepared to give a great (and honest) reference, offering may be a huge help! It can be awkward to ask friends and family to fill out the required forms.
5.“How can we help?” – We needed our 3 children watched while we did PRIDE training for 9 weeks. Not only that, but our oldest needed to be dropped off and picked up from Youth Group every week during that time. Friends of ours graciously took the kids, while other friends picked up and dropped off our oldest at Youth Group each week. But each family’s needs are different. Your friends may need their children cared for while they go for Home Study interviews. Or maybe they would rather have help with meals after their child is adopted.
These are all responses that we got when we shared our adoption plans, and we were so glad to feel the love and support from our family and friends. It really encouraged us in our decision.
Not everyone is in a place to adopt, but anyone can be supportive of those who are. So if a friend has expressed their desire to adopt, consider how you might be able to help or support them!