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Embracing the Journey: How to Support Families in the Adoption Process

As a Christian, adoption holds a significant place in my heart as it reflects the core values of love, compassion, and the belief in the sanctity of human life. It is a journey that intertwines faith and love, creating forever families rooted in God’s grace. We are reminded that adoption was played out in many stories in Scripture. From Moses being raised by Pharaoh’s daughter to the story of Esther, adoption exemplifies the providence and redemptive love of God. Even the central message of Christianity, the adoption of believers into God’s family, provides a powerful framework for understanding the transformative nature of adoption.

In the fall of 2017, my husband and I answered the call to adopt. We were newly married and had just started considering having children of our own when news of our daughter's impending birth reached us. After prayer, we chose to step in when the time came. Early in the morning hours of November 16th our daughter Macy was born.  I remember that night, racing through the aisles of Walmart, hurriedly selecting baby items we thought we might need. In less than twenty-four hours we went from being a young married couple to parents. No parenting class. No eight months of preparation. Parents. Just like that.

Adoption is a transformative and beautiful journey, but it is not without its challenges.  Families who are in the process of adopting need a strong support system to navigate the emotional, logistical, and financial complexities involved. As a community of believers, we have the privilege to rally around these families, offering our love, encouragement, and practical assistance. In this article, we will explore various ways in which we can support families who are adopting, helping them as they embark on this life-changing adventure.


Emotional Support

The adoption process can be emotionally intense for families. They may experience a range of emotions, from excitement and anticipation to anxiety and fear. Thoughts like “Will I love this child like my own biological child?” “Will this child accept me as their parent?” “How will my child be accepted by friends and family?” are just a few of the thoughts that may plague a new adoptive parent or family.

It is crucial to provide emotional support by actively listening, empathizing, and offering a non-judgmental space for families to share their thoughts and feelings. It is important to note that children grow and learn differently, especially if overcoming trauma. Keep in mind that developmental delays in milestones may occur. Parental advice that worked for YOUR child may not be the best fit for THIS child. Limit giving “advice” you learned from grandma. Let them know that you are there to lend an ear, offer encouragement, and provide a shoulder to lean on. Offer to learn with them, rather than attempt to teach and provide for them during this journey.


Practical Assistance

Practical assistance can make a significant difference for families in the adoption process. Offer your help with tasks such as paperwork, organizing fundraisers, or researching available resources. Help families prepare their homes for the arrival of their children by organizing a baby shower or gathering essential items. Even simple gestures like providing meals or offering to babysit existing children can alleviate some of the stress and busyness associated with the adoption process.

I will never forget the kindness shown to us by our church community as we welcomed our new daughter home. Because the process was quick, we did not have the luxury of having a baby shower or spending months purchasing things like clothes, bottles, toys, etc.  Within the first week home, friends quickly rallied around bringing us meals each night, stopping by to give us donations of clothes, blankets, and even a gently used baby crib.


Financial Support

Adoption can come with significant financial expenses, including agency fees, legal costs, and travel expenses. Offer financial support by contributing to fundraising efforts, or even establishing a dedicated fund to help offset some of the financial burden. Throw a baby shower or gift them some of the practical things you know new parents will need. If a family is adopting an older child, it may be helpful to ask about educational plans for the student. Purchasing school supplies or providing funding for tutoring services can be very helpful for families looking to help an older child catch up. Additionally, helps families explore available grants, scholarships, and adoption tax credits to ease the financial strain.


Prayer and Spiritual Encouragement

Prayer is the most important and powerful tool in supporting families during the adoption process. Lift them in prayer, asking for guidance, peace, and wisdom throughout their journey.  Take note of important legal dates in the process and send them a note or text before these dates to let them know you are thinking and praying for them. Celebrate the steps forward and be a quiet comfort during the waiting.


Education and Cultural Sensitivity

If the adoptive child is from a different cultural or ethnic background, it is essential to learn what you can about that culture and traditions. Having a working knowledge will help create a comforting and nurturing environment for both the child and the adoptive family as they celebrate the coming together of cultures and backgrounds.


Post-Adoption Support

Supporting families in the adoption process extends beyond the finalization of the adoption. Families may face adjustments, attachment challenges, or the need for specialized services. Adopted children may have questions about their origins, biological family, or cultural heritage. Be a safe ear as children and parents navigate what “family” means for them both individually and as a community. Be respectful and open to embracing conversations about adoption, identity, and who they are now and where they have come from. Check-in, ask how they are doing, send a card, or surprise them with a meal. Sometimes just letting them know you are there is enough.

Adoption reflects the unconditional love of God, who welcomes believers into the church, regardless of their background or past. We are reminded that life is precious and valued by God. He said in Jeremiah “Before I formed thee in the belly, I knew thee…” (1:5). By extending this love through adoption, Christian families embody the Gospel message and serve as living examples of Christ’s sacrificial love, compassion, and His redemptive grace.

 Article written by Amber Aston: