J: My name is Jennifer, and I am mother to four children, two of whom came to us via adoption. The adoption process is pretty grueling, and can be isolating. Some friends just didn’t understand why we would risk rocking our little boat, and take the emotional and financial risks involved. Others decided we had enough children. Some voiced there support, but really didn’t know how else to be there for us. I found during our adoption processes that other adoptive parents were really such a huge blessing. But a rare and precious gem, is a friend who is not directly affected by adoption, but who is supportive in both words and action. One sweet friend that really went out of her way to show her support for our family, was my dear friend Nina. One evening while having coffee at her home with a group of other adoptive mamas, I asked her what motivated her to love on us the way she had.
N: It’s on the back of a C.A.L.L. T-shirt. If you can’t foster or adopt, volunteer, donate, or educate. I see you adoptive moms and dads working so hard to love on kids from hard places. One day I saw a picture in my mind of two families. Like two boats in the ocean with rain pouring down, filling with water. Limited time, energy, and resources represented by little cups trying to bail the water out. As the boat filled with trials (doctors appointments, illness, loss, grief, therapy, cooking dinner, caring for more kids, etc.) those two families tossed that little cup back and forth to each other. Then there was me in my boat watching it all go down. If I am honest I have a huge bucket of time, energy, and resources to help. So God told me to get in there and help lighten their load as much as I could.
J: Nina hosted a benefit yard sale to help with our fundraising efforts. She shared other fundraisers, and encouraged others to give to those too. She prayed over me just days before I left for China to bring home our daughter, and she delivered food and groceries to us in the days and weeks that followed. She truly poured so much of herself into loving us well. It still brings me to tears just remembering how these gestures were such a huge relief and blessing to us!
N: When a family is going into the responsibility of financially providing for an adoption, physically caring for a new child, emotionally handling all that comes with adoption and loss, as well as enduring the spiritual warfare that comes with this type of radical obedience to God, this type of support is crucial and a no-brainer. It is every Christian’s job to care for these kids in some way.
To love these families is also to learn from them. To let adoptive mamas educate me about bonding, attachment, expenses and any other issues that are grossly unknown or misunderstood by non adoptive families. To be a safe place to land without so much advice as support and encouragement.
J: Not everyone can adopt, or foster. But everyone that loves an adoptive or foster family can choose to support a family who is adopting or fostering. If fundraising isn’t your thing, there are other ways to help. Supporting a family after that exciting adoption day, or airport day, or placement, is truly a rare gift. Bringing meals after a child is home, offering to do laundry, gifting a family with groceries or a house cleaning, offering to spend time with the siblings who may be feeling insecure about the newest addition, delivering coffee to a tired mama… these are treasures that help restore a weary parent to be the best mom or dad to their family that they can be to a child who is so confused and grieving.
N: I can’t bond with a newly adopted child just yet. They need mom and dad for that. I can’t rock them to sleep, teach them some adults are worth trusting, or watch them do a trick for the millionth time, but I can support the mom and dad who do. It is truly a gift to do so and you guys are real heroes.