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20 Simple and Fun Ways to Support Newly Home Adoptive Families

January 21, 2019 0 Comments

Do you have friends who are a newly adoptive family and want to show them some love? (If they are still in the paperwork process, start here.)

Every family is unique, but one thing is certain: they needed you while they were in process and they need you now. Their knees are wobbly because the ground keeps shifting beneath their feet. They have pushed, prayed and hustled their way through a grueling paperwork process, survived a beautifully exhausting adoption trip, and are finally home. Ideally, it would be rest time, but nope. It’s go time in a big way with their new child. It’s the celebratory finish line of a marathon. But, before you can fire the confetti cannon, they’re neck deep in the exhaustingly beautiful work of transitioning as a family.

These are some ways that your family can help carry the weight in a way that fits your wiring. Meals are incredible, but there are many other ways to serve and support. The key is moving beyond, “Let me know what I can do.”“Love does.”



1. Grace. Drop off a bag of paper plates, cups, and bowls, with a note saying, “Treat yourself to lots grace. This is not easy. For however messy your house is, grace. For how frazzled you feel as a parent, grace. For whatever feelings pop up, grace. For any tasks you aren’t getting to, grace.”

2. Prayer. Pray like crazy and then let them know you’ve been on your knees. Ask, “How can I be praying now that you are home?” Add the family’s name to your prayer list and then snap a photo. Or, when you see the family, say, “Our family prayed for you last night.” Send a card with specifics on how you are praying.

3. Laughter. It’s all so weighty with emotions and change. Write a giggle prescription with a funny movie invite, hilarious meme, comedian clip, or ridiculous kid story. Drop off movie candy and a Redbox comedy.

4. Ask questions. Do you want to help, but are unsure how? Tell them. Try, “I really want to stand with you in this. What would help you?” Or, want to talk about how it feels to adopt, but not sure what to say? Try, “I can’t imagine what this process is like for you. How are you feeling? What are you learning?”

The good news? You are off the hook. You aren’t expected to say the right things, or even to relate. Honesty is a gift. Just say, “How is everybody doing with all this change?”

Also, ask about their wishes. Are they planning to follow certain protocol as they work on attachment? Are they keeping their world small? Do they prefer that you not touch or hold their child? Would they prefer that gifts and meals be left at the door? Or, do they want you to come over and stay awhile? Are they feeling trapped and lonely or content and needing family space? When you are out with them, ask, “Do you want to talk about all this, or would you rather escape a bit and laugh?” Ask.

5. Celebrate. Rejoice with them. Send a text full of emojis, show up with celebratory chocolate, or take the family out for ice cream. When hosting a family dinner, or are out with friends, make a toast. Offer a “family addition” gift shower. Sometimes families adopt an older child, and they miss the gift of being “showered” like new parents. The adoption process can be grueling, and everyone likes to feel celebrated.

6. Be a Fairy. Call yourself the “fruit fairy” and drop off a bowl of fresh, cut fruit every now and then, or be the “muffin fairy” on Saturday mornings.

7. Welcome. Airport welcome parties are a fun surprise for weary families. Tie balloons to their mailbox or make a sign for the door. Have your kids write “Welcome the Neighborhood” cards. Drop off a “welcome” basket to the new family member.

8. Support Siblings. Being a sibling in this process is a hard gig. Offer to have them over for the day or take them to a park or movie. Add them into something your family is already doing. Offer a carpool or activity ride. So much centers around the adoption. Giving everyone love and time weighs heavily on the parents, so you’d be a blessing.

9. Listen. They might love to hear, “I’d like to grab some coffee and hear about how all this has been for you.” Or, “Let’s go on a walk and talk about how I can help you through this.” Parents in this process have a thousand thoughts swirling, decisions to make, and faith lessons to process. Offer your ear.

10. Coffee Runner. Sometimes a well timed Starbucks run can be life.

11. Offer grace. Let them “feel their feels” without judgment. Tell them, “I know this is hard.” It’s both a happy and crazy hard time. Know that sometimes, even though a parent has worked hard to adopt their child, the fear, doubt and sadness can come on strong. Post-adoption depression is as common as post-partum depression. Life feels upside down. Acknowledge the duality of the feelings.



12. Laundry Angel. Be the beloved laundry helper. Tell them to leave their laundry on the porch and then return it fresh and folded. If they feel weird about undies, tell them to leave them out and not let that get in the way of help.

13. Learn. Try to understand the process of adding a child who has known trauma to a family. Simply ask, “Will you need to parent differently? How can we support all of you as you adjust?” Attempting to “get” what they are dealing will be appreciated. Be open to learning something new and show them that you don’t assume that this is like having a biological child.

14. Meals. Start a meal train with their food wishes in mind. Do they hate noodles? Gluten free? Would they prefer that meals be placed in a cooler on the porch? Just consider that this family is tired, kid-focused and over extended. They might not have the energy for long chats. They may need the food dropped off by five because small people eat early.

Meal help is huge emotional and physical support. Keep it simple and kid-friendly. It’s ok to hit up the grocery deli or give a gift card.

15. Groceries. Drop off kid-friendly groceries. Stock the fridge while they are on their adoption trip, so they don’t return home foodless. Offer to make a Costco or Publix run. Or, offer to pick up their Walmart.com order. Give a gift certificate for Instacart or Shipt.

16. Cleaning. Pay for a cleaning service. Or, do you love to clean? They’ll love you forever and always.

17. Gifts. Gifts are thoughtful, but never have to be expensive. Consider diapers, clothes, kid toiletries, picture books about adoption, bars of good chocolate or flowers from your yard.

18. Pet Help. Help make those walks happen.

19. Errands. While you are already out, what might they need? A dry-cleaning pick-up?

20. Encourage. Text or send notes over time. Let them know you are thinking of them as they figure out family life.



Know that this family might resist help. I encourage you to gently, but respectfully, push a little, while still respecting their attachment wishes. Accepting help is hard. Some want help but are too overloaded to know what to ask for. Others attack challenges with fierce independence. Try saying, “Please let us bless you and play a part in this special process. If it would help you, let us do this.” That said, if you gently push and they decline, that’s OK. You can simply reply with, “If you change your mind, it would bless us to help. We’ll be on our knees for you.”

You’ve read this list and are pursuing ways to show love to an adoptive family, thank you for being a good friend. They need you.

Photo credit: Unsplash





Waiting to be Chosen: Alexa

January 14, 2019 0 Comments

Alexa is a beautiful girl with so much potential! She was born in June of 2010, but didn’t come into the care of her orphanage until around four years of age. She was very sad, which is to be expected, but gradually adjusted to life in the orphanage. As she adjusted, she became much more optimistic and social.

She is described by her caretakers as cheerful, talkative, calm, sensible, clever, and adorable. She works hard and is very independent. Alexa can take care of her own needs and enjoys helping take care of the other children as well. She has become a big sister figure to many in the orphanage. Her orphanage says she is very smart and that she likes to study. At the time her file was prepared, she could count and write numbers. Alexa likes to draw, sing, play with dolls, and play games in class. She can often be found with a smile on her face too!

Alexa was diagnosed as having disabled lower limbs. She uses a walker to get around. Her hands and arms are flexible. She has a good appetite and is not a picky eater. Alexa is a very determined young lady who is going to thrive in a family with access to the resources she needs.



A new video of Alexa can be found here.

Written update from December 2018:

1. How is her mental ability compared to peers of the same age?
She has normal intelligence and good learning ability. She is able to quickly master new things and has a strong curiosity and initiative.

2. How does the special need affect her health?
Both lower limbs are affected, but she can walk with a walker. She has good life self-help skills and can also use both of her hands well, such as to hold a wall for support with walking.

3. Is she potty trained?
Yes.

4. Please describe her personality in details.
She is cheerful and lively. She likes to make new friends, loves to laugh, likes all novelty things.

5. Is she well behaved and obedient?
Yes

6. How are her gross motor skills? Can she walk, run, jump, or walk upstairs and downstairs by herself? Can she kick a ball? Can she pick up a ball? Any limited functions?
Lower limbs limited. She can walk with a walker. Her hands are fine.

7. How are her fine motor skills? Can she draw or scribble on paper? Can she pick up little things with her fingers?
Excellent

8. Is she in any kind of school? If so, what school? Can she catch up in school?
She doesn’t go to school.

9. How is her emotional development? Is the child attached to anyone? Who is she close to? Does she care for other people?
Her emotional development is good. She loves to laugh, likes to take care of the other children, and has good attachment with familiar people.

10. How are her social skills? Does she get along well with other children and adults?
Very good.

11. Is she under foster care or living in the orphanage?
She has always lived in the orphanage.

12. Updated Measurements:
Height: 122 cm
Head circ: 51 cm
Chest circ: 67 cm
Foot length: 22 cm
Weight: 29 kg
Number of teeth: 22

13. How is the language ability of the child? What can she say? Can she speak one word, two words or sentences? Can she express her needs well? Is her language ability the same as peers of the same age?
She has excellent language skills and is able to communicate normally.

There is a $1,000 agency grant for Alexa’s adoption with Madison Adoption Associates. Other grants may be available based on the adoptive family’s circumstances. Agency grants are awarded as agency fee reductions. MAA also partners with the Brittany’s Hope Foundation for matching grants, which are given out twice a year January and July) and to families that are officially matched with a child.

Alexa needs a family with an approved home study to be able to move forward with adopting her. If you have an approved home study or a home study in process and are interested in adopting Alexa, please fill out a free PAP Waiting Child Review Form, which can be found here.

Waiting Child Spotlight: Piper

January 9, 2019 0 Comments

Piper is a smiley and joyful girl, born in September of 2010. She is described by her caretakers as obedient and active, but is sometimes sensitive and impatient. Piper has good self-care skills and is able to dress, toilet, and eat independently. She likes to play with other children and is gentle with them.

Piper also likes to watch and learn how to help out around the orphanage with things such as mopping, folding laundry, and getting clothes out for the children while they are being bathed by the caretakers. She is praised often for her helpfulness!



Piper is diagnosed as having cerebral palsy and motor delays, but her motor development has continued to improve over the years. She likes to write and draw and will really take her time to do it well. Piper gets along well with her caretakers and is very interactive with them. She loves to pose for photos, which often makes her caretakers laugh.

Piper is attending school in the orphanage. She sometimes struggles with focusing and is working to improve her expressive abilities. She speaks less than the other children and won’t always answer questions. Piper’s language skills are improving. She still uses short expressions of one-three words mostly. She does have good comprehension and cognition abilities.

Piper has grown up in two different orphanages. She’s making great progress, but is missing out on all that a stable and loving family could provide!

New videos of Piper:
Piper 1
Piper 2
Piper 3
Piper 4

Older video:
Piper 5



Written update from December 2018:

1.How is her mental ability compared to peers of the same age?
Behind normal kids. Her overall ability cannot be compared with normal kids.

2. How does the special need affect her health?
Mental and mobility are affected.

3. Is she potty trained?
Yes.

4. Please describe her personality in details.
She is active, happy, and social. She gets along well with other kids and adults. Sometimes she will be unreasonable, but it will not last for long. Then she will be happy again. She gets a temper easily, but gets happy easily. She is polite. She greets people happily when she sees them.

5. Is she well behaved and obedient?
She is little. She is learning and growing. She knows how to behave. She sometimes has conflicts with other kids, but will get over it. She does not have any bad behavior. She has real personality, but she can accept guidance from teachers.

6. How are her gross motor skills? Can she walk, run, jump, or walk upstairs and downstairs by herself? Can she kick a ball? Can she pick up a ball? Any limited functions?
She has CP. Her right side movement is limited, but she can walk well. She can run slowly and jump a little. She is energetic, strong, and active.

7. How are her fine motor skills? Can she draw or scribble on paper? Can she pick up little things with her fingers?
Her right side is limited, but her right hand and foot can do most motor skills. If she gets proper PT, her right hand should gain most fine motor skills. Her left side is fine.

8. Is she in any kind of school? If so, what school? Can she catch up in school?
She is receiving special education in the orphanage.

9. How is her emotional development? Is the child attached to anyone? Who is she close to? Does she care for other people?
Normal. She is close to her caretakers. Her best friends are Li Bao qi and Chen Xiao ling in the same room. When other kids cry, she will try to soothe them.

10.How are her social skills? Does she get along well with other children and adults?
Good. She gets along well with others. She loves her caretakers. She likes playing with her caretaker and with the other kids.

11. Is she under foster care or living in the orphanage?
She has always lived in an orphanage.

12. Updated Measurements:
Height: 103 cm
Head circ: 50 cm
Chest circ: 55 cm
Foot length: 17 cm
Weight: 17.5 kg
Number of teeth: 24

13. How is the language ability of the child? What can she say? Can she speak one word, two words or sentences? Can she express her needs well? Is her language ability the same as peers of the same age?
Good. She can say whole sentences and express her needs. Her language is behind healthy kids her age.

14. Can the child follow directions of adults? One step, two steps, or three steps?
Yes, she can.

15. Is the child on any medication?
Only for colds.

16. What is the daily schedule of the child?
6:30 get up
7:30 breakfast
8:45 study and PT
10:30 free time
11:30 lunch
13:00 14:30 nap
14:45 study and PT
16:30 free time 17:00 dinner 21:00 go to bed

17. What does the child eat? Can she feed herself? Does the child eat with chopsticks, a spoon, or a bottle?
For breakfast, she eats congee, bread, and an egg. For lunch, she eats rice, noodles, fish, meat, vegetables, etc. She feeds herself with a spoon and drinks with a cup.

18. Does the child know any English?
No.

19. Does the child want to be adopted? Does the child understand what adoption means?
She wants to be adopted and have parents.

20. What color does the child like?
No preference.

21. What activity does the child like to do?
Any sports.

22. What is the favorite toy of the child?
She likes puzzles, biking, and anything that’s fun really.



There is a $1,000 agency grant with Madison Adoption Associates for Piper’s adoption. Other grants may be available based on the adoptive family’s circumstances. Agency grants are awarded as agency fee reductions. MAA also partners with the Brittany’s Hope Foundation for matching grants, which are given out twice a year (January and July) and to families that are officially matched with a child.

Piper needs a family with an approved home study to be able to move forward with adopting her. If you have an approved home study or a home study in process and are interested in adopting Piper, please fill out a free PAP Waiting Child Review Form, which can be found here.

Find My Forever: Dawson

January 5, 2019 0 Comments

Dawson is a smart, handsome, and optimistic boy, born in April of 2007 with congenital heart disease, specifically TGA (for which he has since had surgery), VSD, and pulmonary atresia. From 2010 until 2013, Dawson lived in the orphanage. In May of 2013, Dawson entered a foster family and he still resides with his foster …Read More

Ringing in the New Year

January 4, 2019 0 Comments

It’s a New Year. Maybe 2018 was lovely to you and you’re holding tightly to it because you’re afraid times this good can’t hold. You held your baby for the first time, bought a new house that you’re pretty sure you’re going to live the rest of your life in, worked some kinks out of …Read More

Meet Tesia!

January 1, 2019 0 Comments

Tesia is an adorable little girl, born in November of 2014 with low muscular tension. She cannot stand on her own, but does like to move around in a walker. Tesia doesn’t yet speak any words, but she can understand, follow instructions, and respond when called. Tesia is a quiet, obedient, and smiley little girl …Read More

Waiting For You: Liam

December 29, 2018 0 Comments

Handsome Liam, born February of 2016, has low vision and mild cerebral palsy. Liam has been under the care of Bethel since December of 2016. He can see and recognize faces, reaches out for toys he sees around him, and will go towards a toy or caregiver across the room. He is not blind, but …Read More

A Christmas Love Story

December 29, 2018 1 Comments

I often hear adults proclaim that as we grow older, the magic of Christmas fades. When I think about past Christmases, there were many where I felt despair and loneliness. Christmas didn’t feel magical; it was a reminder of a missing loved one, family conflict, a recent divorce, financial stress, infertility, rejection, medical issues, and …Read More

Meet Beatrice!

December 26, 2018 0 Comments

Beatrice is a beautiful girl, born in June of 2016, with a precious smile and gentle spirit. She was living in a foster family sponsored by Love Without Boundaries, where she had an older foster sister who absolutely adored her. Her latest update, which you can read below, reports that she is back in the …Read More

Giving Our Treasures and Joying Great Joy

December 25, 2018 0 Comments

…and behold, the same star that they had seen before reappeared, the star they had been watching for, planning for, waiting for. With amazement that all they believed was true was true indeed, they moved forward, and it led them, shining brightly above them and before them until it came to rest over the place …Read More

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