Many folks innocently believe that once a child has been adopted that “everything will be one now—he/she has a home and apermanent family
and all is well.”
Do you know of someone in your family or neighborhood who has recently adopted a child? If you are an adoptive parent
Photo on Unsplash by Alexander Dummer
yourself, you know how crazy and unpredictable those first few months can be. For most adoptive families there is no such thing as a “honeymoon period” with their new child. They hit the ground running, open in crisis mode, trying to help their childwork through the residual effects of abandonment and trauma. Many folks innocently believe that once a child has been adopted that “everything will be one now—he/she has a home and a permanent family and all is well.”—Again, those of you who have adopted know that numerous factors may not “be well” for quite a while, and some may never be fully resolved (especially for children who are adopted at older ages).
Here are some ways we can suggest to our friends and relatives on how they can assist a newly adoptive family survive those often-rocky early weeks and months:
*Provide a meal for the entire family on a regular basis—once a month, or maybe even once a week.
*Send them cards of encouragement and phone them periodically to support them.
*Offer to do yard work/outside maintenance (this area is often neglected when new parents have their hands full with their child)
*If you know the family well, and if the child is at a good comfort level with you, over the
parent(s) a few hours respite so they can go on a date or outting with friends. (My wife recently did this for our neighbors about 6 months after they adopted a 5-year-old girl—those 3 hours were a godsend for them!)
Newly-adoptive families need a lot of support—let’s keep our eyes and ears open to how we can be there for them!