Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Adoption ::: Welcoming New Family Members

Here are some tips for supporting a friend or family member in the adoption process.  In my opinion you can support them in the same way you would a person who was having a biological child - it really isn't any different.  A new person is joining the family!  Be excited and interested even if you know nothing about the adoption process.  It's perfectly acceptable to say "I am so excited for you and your husband (family), I am not familiar with the adoption process, but I can't wait to learn first hand through you!"

Here are some suggestions:

If the couple is adopting their first child, please make sure someone is throwing them a baby shower!  Even if they are adopting an older child, a "baby" shower is still entirely appropriate.  No new mom should be denied the fun of having friends and family share in her excitement as she plans and prepares for this new person.

Here are a few ideas for an older child shower:

          ✼ gift certificate to a clothing store or all purpose store such as Tar.get

          ✼ gift certificate for a local photographer to have a new family picture taken

          ✼ gift certificate for a restaurant to use during those first few days home

          ✼ gift certificate to a bookstore

Consider helping financially with adoption expenses. Adoption can be costly (although not always) and sometimes every little bit counts when working towards adding a person to the family.

Offer to bring a meal over when the child joins the family. You would be surprised at how often people don't think to do this with an adoption.  Even though a mom hasn't gone through the physical effects of labor doesn't mean a meal isn't a welcome gift.  Imagine traveling half way around the world with a screaming baby/toddler- that would wear out even the most hardened traveler!  Often the family is dealing with time zone changes, even if the child joined their family from across the country.

It can sometimes be a challenge to find a meal to take to a family, especially since food allergies/intolerances are so prevelant these days.  Another idea is to take a care package of goodies, maybe a bottle of wine, juice boxes for the kids, chocolate, popcorn or other snack items.  Or another thought is easy breakfast items like cereal, oatmeal, a loaf of bread, english muffins, a bunch of bananas etc.

While we were on our first trip to the caribbean, my parents came over to our house and did some cleaning, plus a few odds and ends jobs that we hadn't gotten around to doing.  I can't tell you how nice it was to come home to.  I left my house tidy, but I came home to very clean kitchen floors and appliances - a real treat.

What are some helpful items that you received or wish you had received when a new child joined your family?


Meghan said...

We loved our meals! They were a lifesaver. One other thing is the be aware that international adoptees often are not up for entertaining company when they first return home. It sounds odd, but attachment/bonding has to take place first. We ended up having to almost be rude to some friends who stopped by with treats for us- they wanted to meet our child, and we so wanted to see them, but our son was still jetlagged and no where near ready to have company over. Attachment/bonding is tough and it helps to just ask the new parents if it's ok to stay a while, or if it is ok to pick up their child, etc. And, if they say no, realize it isn't you, it's just they are trying to adjust to their new family. Everyone decides differently regarding bonding/attachment theories, but it is still helpful to ask!

Jen said...

Meghan-that is an excellent point! That is a difference in the "welcome home" phase.

Lori said...

Great post! I love your gift ideas-I had not thought of a photograher gift certificate! Thanks for sharing your perspective. For those of us who have not adopted, it is good to know these things!! :)

Patty said...

We had a crew of friends to welcome us home at our regional airport. I still have the banner they made out of love!

Meals - two thumbs up. The check lag was so bad and on top of it hubby, baby and myself all came down with something we picked up over there. I had no energy to function as a mom/wife.

The greatest gift of all was having close family friends, (son's godparents) stay with our other children at our home, while we were gone overseas. This enabled the children to feel somewhat secure, in their own beds, while Mommy and Daddy were away. It was a HUGE gift on the part of this couple.

To give this couple a break, all of our home school friends took turns each day watching the kids.

We lived too far from our family and my father was going through chemo at the time. The love our friends showered on us was amazing.

Great post, Jen!

Patty said...

I meant to type jet lag!

Ani said...

This is great- thanks for posting! To the meals suggestion, I would add to make sure that whatever meals you take to a new adoptive family (if they have traveled internationally) can be frozen easily. I came home with parasites after our first trip to Ethiopia, and couldn't eat the delicious looking meals people were bringing over for about a week after we got home. Thankfully none of us got sick on our most recent trip, but with the jet lag, changes in schedule and lack of sleep, neither Jeff nor I had much of an appetite for a few days after we got home, so it was nice when we had meals we could freeze and save for when we started being hungry again :)

Catherine Anne said...

Thank you. I have a family in mind as I read this! Blessings Catherine

Gardenia said...

Excellent tips, Jen. Sometimes people shy away from offering help or showing interest when it's an adoption versus a pregnancy, and i think, as you say, it's because they don't know how to show their interest. But it's true, it's the same as a pregnancy. one gift we received, which you mention, was a gift certificate to a photographer for aa portrait of our family. it was a great idea.


Related Posts with Thumbnails

World Clocks