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BellaOnline's Adoption Editor

He Said, She Said

Here are twelve ways to offer support to a friend or family member going through the adoption process.

  1. Resist the urge to share details of your cousin's friend of a friend's adoption story. Often times, details of an adoption (good and bad experiences) can get changed or misunderstood by the time it makes the rounds. Rather, it might be helpful to say, “My cousin's friend Mark also went through the adoption process. He loves talking about adoption, so would you like me to give you his e-mail address?”

  2. While it's perfectly normal to be excited for your friend, try not to ask “Have you heard anything?” every single time you talk with her. Trust me, she will tell you the minute they do know something, or have made significant progress.

  3. If your friend has set up a blog or other social networking page, stop by and offer supportive comments. Something as simple as “We are so happy for you! Thanks for the update!” will make her day.

  4. If you are absolutely opposed to the country or program your friend is adopting from, keep it to yourself. The bottom line is that this is her decision, not yours. However, if you are worried that you friend is on the verge of becoming part of an adoption scam, by all means speak up. Point your friend to a reputable website, such as the Department of State's Intercountry Adoption site, in addition to a local adoption attorney.

  5. If the adoption falls through, do not say “There's plenty of children out there, and I know you're child is out there as well!" The child that she lost through the failed adoption was her child.

  6. If your friend is adopting an older child, don't assume they will not want a shower or celebration. It's such a nice gesture to say, “We'd love to have an adoption shower for you in celebration of (insert child's name)!"

  7. On that note, some adoptive parents may feel better about having a celebration after their child is home and adoption is final. Respect their wishes, and go with the flow.

  8. Here are a few practical suggestions that may be much appreciated by your friend if she has to travel for the adoption:

    • House watching: Offer to keep an eye on her house when she is out of town.

    • Pet Sitting: Save your friend money by taking care of her pets while she is away.

    • Meal Preparation: Making a few of your friend's favorite casseroles and placing in the freezer is often a very thoughtful way to help out.

  9. Some adoptive parents love having a large welcome home crowd the airport, and others prefer to keep it simple. Everyone has different feelings on this, so check with your friend before planning a large celebration at the airport.

  10. Understand that there will be an adjustment period upon returning home with her child, but it does not mean that your friend doesn't value your friendship. It means that after all of the adoption paperwork, fingerprints, clearances, and travel, to instant parenthood, your friend may be in a state of pure joy and exhaustion.

  11. It's perfectly normal to want to go over right away to meet, hold, play, and bond with your friend's new baby or child. There will be many opportunities to do this, after your friend has had a chance to do it first. However, if your friend wants you to come over right away for support, or simply to show of the newest addition to the family, then by all means go!

  12. Don't ask personal questions about the child's birth parents, unless your friend wants to share those details. It's perfectly normal to be curious about the circumstances surrounding the adoption, but it's up to your friend to decide when and if to share that information with others.

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Content copyright © 2013 by Brandii Lacey. All rights reserved.
This content was written by Brandii Lacey. If you wish to use this content in any manner, you need written permission. Contact Deanna Kahler for details.

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