Have you seen all the smiley faces on people’s hands plastered up and down your social media accounts today? I sure hope so! That means that you, like me, have lots of friends and family whose lives have been touched by the beautiful gift of adoption. November 9 is World Adoption Day – a day to bring awareness to adoption and celebrate one of the wonderful ways that God builds families – through adoption!
God chose to make our family grow through the miracle of adoption 2 and a half years ago and we are forever changed and grateful. There isn’t a day that goes by that we don’t celebrate each of our children’s unique stories and our son’s story just so happens to include joining our family through adoption! Today Josh and I got a Target date and coffee date with our little Bub – we are soaking up every last minute he gets to be the baby of the family!
I have talked with countless friends and family members about adoption and I know that people have SO MANY questions. So today in honor of World Adoption Day I thought I would share 5 fun things that this adoptive family would love for you to know about adoption:
We are the lucky ones!
When someone you know has the privilege of adopting a child, whether that child is 1 day old, 1 year old, or 11 years old, those parents feel like all other new parents! “How can we be so blessed? So lucky? That we get to be this precious child’s parents?” So. instead of commenting on how lucky that boy or girl is to be welcomed into a loving family, just congratulate the parents the same way you would any other parents who had the honor of adding to their family. We don’t want our adopted children to ever hear that they are the lucky ones or that they should feel somehow indebted to be part of a loving family. We believe it is their God-given right the same way it is your biological child’s right to be a part of a family who treasures them!
We love our child’s birth family!
In our home, we call our son’s biological family his first family. That is something we would never want to take away from him or them. (We also celebrate that we are his forever family which is a privilege that no one can ever take away from us!) Every adopted child’s first family has their own story – some are very hard and some are beautiful and many are both. As adoptive parents, we want you to know that you should never, ever make jokes or say negative things about a child’s biological family. And we want to honor our adopted child’s biological family by not giving away stories that aren’t ours to share.
When you are interacting with a adoptive family use language that honors the stories of all involved! Recently, I was getting pedicures with my son’s first mom and we had the honor of sharing how our stories intersected through adoption with the women painting our nails – there wasn’t a dry eye in the house – but the important thing was that the women painting our nails honored both of our stories! If you have questions, try wording them in a way that they would still be honoring if you asked them in front of both the biological and adoptive parents.
We love to answer your questions – at appropriate times in appropriate settings.
Many questions that you have are awesome and most adoptive families I know would love to help you understand the process of adoption! But always be aware of what ears are listening and the wording of the questions you are asking. There have been countless times that people have asked about my adopted child’s ‘real parents’ in front of all three of my children. And while I am happy to help you understand that we are indeed his real parents but that he also has a first family whom we love dearly, this conversation is very hard for little ears to digest. Look around, if there are children around that are impacted by adoption, it is usually best to keep questions to yourself until a more appropriate time. (Unless you are a stranger in Target, then just keep your questions to yourself forever and keep your nose out of other people’s business!)
If you do have questions to ask friends and family who have adopted, you could try asking the adults in private, “I would love to hear about your adoption journey but I don’t want to ask anything that you don’t feel comfortable answering. Would there be a time you could tell me a bit more about your family’s journey?”
Find ways to bless adoptive families the same way that you would a family adding a biological baby to their family!
Did you know many adoptive parents don’t get maternity or paternity leave at work? Or that many adoptive parents don’t get new meals brought to them like many families who have biological babies? Some of my good friends are foster parents and when they are blessed with a new addition to their family, people rarely go out of their way to help ease their load. I really believe that this isn’t because people are trying to be mean, its just because its not as obvious to some about the giant changes this family is going through. When a family adopts, there are ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS growing pains for all involved. There is always time needed to grow together as a family unit and learn each other. So keep your eyes open and always be looking for ways to bless adoptive families. In acknowledging their family’s addition, you will bless them and help them feel loved and seen!
Adoption is amazing!
Yes, adoption is a long journey. Costly for many. Painful for some. But adoptive families want you to know that adoption is absolutely amazing!!! While some of us will shout about our adoption from the rooftops, others would prefer to be more private. But all of us feel honored and privileged to be a part of something as beautiful as adoption. And for Christians, we believe that adoption paints the most beautiful picture of the gospel that we love so dearly – that through Jesus, we have been adopted into God’s forever family!
Thanks for stopping by and reading about something so near and dear to my heart! Love, Maddi
Just a side note, I understand that I claim to speak for adoptive families in this post but I acknowledge that every family is different and some may disagree with bits and pieces of this post. That is completely valid! I am just speaking from a place where many of my adoptive friends and I tend to agree on various topics.