The birth of a baby is exciting for the entire community. Everyone anticipates the big day and rushes to offer their gifts and congratulations. Just like the birth of a baby, the adoption of a baby is the same.
New parents are new parents. No matter how they become so, they need the same love and support from their friends and family. As a friend of adoptive parents, there’s a lot you can do to support their decision and their new lifestyle with a baby.
Learn About the Adoption Process
Your friends have gone through (or are going through) a long and sometimes trying journey. There is a great deal of hope and expectation associated with the wait for a match, and your friends may have dealt with months of disappointment as they waited for their child. Understanding this process will help you empathize with them during the most challenging days when they feel like giving up.
We have resources to help you learn about adoption, and if you have any questions, you’re always welcome to contact us.
Set an Example
Sometimes, an adoption is confusing for people. They don’t know how to refer to the child, or they can’t understand the dynamics of an open adoption.
Set an example for these well-meaning friends and family members by using positive adoption language: refer to the adoption as an event (not a condition) and refer to the child as “their son” rather than “their adopted son.” Show the child and the family the love that you would show any child that arrived in a family by birth. If you’re in a social situation where someone displays some misunderstanding of the adoption, gently set them straight. Learning about the adoption process gives you the tools to do this.
Throw a Baby Shower
A baby shower is a great opportunity for closeness and community, which all new parents need. It’s also a great way to help a new mom and dad gather the supplies they will need for their child! Adoptive parents deserve this milestone event, as well.
Help at Home
Your friends will need to child-proof their home as the baby gets older, and there’s no better time for that than now. By the time the baby is home, the new parents will have plenty to do as it is! Offer to help them do it (or do it for them if the child is already there).
Every new parent enjoys a home-cooked meal, but they just might not have the time to do it themselves as they get used to their new routine with a baby. Ask them what they like to eat and prepare a few meals for them in those first few months. It seems like a small gesture, but it saves them a lot of time and hassle. In the same vein, you could offer to run some errands for them.
Let those new parents have a date night! Or maybe they just need some time to prepare for a new project at work or go to an appointment. Offering to babysit for a few hours might be the perfect gift: it gives the new parents time to breathe and reset before getting back to the full-time job of raising a child.
New parents may need some time to vent or even lament the loss of their old lifestyle! However, it’s easy to feel guilty doing so; after all, they wanted a child for so long, and now that she’s here, how could they wish for one second without her? Parenting isn’t easy, and sometimes the exhaustion of sleepless nights and the change of schedule adds up to a lot of frustration. Be willing to listen without judgment if your friends need to talk about it.
Ask What They Need
Sometimes, the answer may surprise you! Instead of guessing, ask your friends what they need the most. Maybe they don’t want any unexpected visits, maybe they really need someone to walk the dog. The best way to help them may be to simply let them know you’re there if they need you.
If your friend is just beginning the adoption journey, you could even visit with the agency with them and start the process!