How to Help When Your Friends are Adopting

How can you help your friends who are hoping to adopt?Adoption can be a lengthy and expensive process for the average couple.  Beyond its financial toll, it can wear on a couple emotionally and mentally as they navigate the adoption process. So how can you help your friends who are hoping to adopt?

Here are six great tips:

1. Listen

Be there to listen to the ups and downs of the adoption process.  Listen to their hopes and their fears; listen to their frustrations; listen to their struggles.  Be ready to simply listen to the highs and lows they experience throughout the process.  It’s not uncommon on this journey to have a few false starts.  Your friends will need the emotional support of a good ear and cup of tea over the next several months or years.

2. Fundraise

According the Child Welfare Information Gateway, the average adoption cost in the United States is approximately $30,000.  While costs may range from $5,000 to $40,000, the majority of domestic adoptions in the U.S. come in around $30,000. International adoptions can be even more expensive. This exists as a major cost for most families hoping to adopt. Whether you organize a GoFundMe page, or work to rally the community to help prospective adoptee parents, couples looking to adopt can use fundraisers.

Here are some potential fundraising ideas:

  • Organize a yard sale with donated items
  • Organize an online auction with donated goods and services from local businesses
  • Host a game night
  • Organize a raffle
  • Host a fundraising dinner

Keep in mind that there’s such a thing as fundraising fatigue; you’ll want to avoid asking the same group again and again to participate in fundraisers.  Try to involve the greater community as much as possible!

Related: Ask the Expert: Why Become a Foster Parent?

3. Be On-Call

Babies don’t recognize schedules, and your friends may get a call to travel to a hospital an hour away for a potential adoption. They’ll need to leave when they get the call. They may need someone to look in on family pets or care for children already in their home. Volunteering to be on-call for these situations can be an invaluable gift to your friends looking to adopt.

While different adoption services work in different ways, your friends may need to travel.  If this is the case, they may need someone on short notice to care for their home, animals, or children.  Additionally, they may need help with child or pet care for legal appointments or other appointments mandated by an adoption agency if they elect to work with one.

4. Organize During-Adoption Support

The adoption process can be fraught with ups and downs; much of it exists as a waiting game.  Help your friends survive this emotional rollercoaster by staying in touch and taking them out occasionally.  Go the movies, check out a local event, invite them over for dinner.  Help them to think about things other than the adoption and keep those invitations coming over the course of the adoption process.

Related: Of Love and Losses: Adopting the Older Child

5. Organize Pre-Adoption Support

Once your friends know for certain they’ll be adopting, offer some pre-adoption support.  This kind of help can take many forms.  Perhaps your friends would appreciate assistance in painting the room and putting furniture together.  Perhaps they’d appreciate a shower; many adoptive parents miss out on this tradition when adding a new addition to the family.  And remember: a shower doesn’t need to be for just a baby!  If your friends will be adopting a toddler or older child, he or she will need just as many things as a newborn!

6. Organize After-Adoption Support

Whether your friends successfully adopt an infant, child, or teenager, there will be an adjustment period just like there is for a new baby.  Consider supporting your friends by organizing a meal train, sending a house cleaning service for a day, or volunteering to watch the child/children so the couple can unwind and enjoy a brief few hours out by themselves to relax and connect.

While every adoption story is unique, the actual adoption process can be taxing.  Ask your friends what they need; listen to what they say.  Offer what you can, and provide the support that’s within your means to do so.

Recruit a few good friends to help, and work to keep your friend’s spirits high and their heart full.

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