While God may not be calling all of us to adopt a child, he has called us to care for the orphans and widows (James 1:27). Furthermore, he has given us 59 “one another’s” in Scripture. Whatever we do, it’s clear we are called to find the ways that God has uniquely positioned and equipped us to help the body of Christ.
We have experienced how the church can play huge and important roles in caring for all members of the adoption triad (birth moms, adoptive parents, and adopted child). Here are some specific ways people have helped us and continue to come alongside us in our journey:
1. Adoption counsel: We first sought out a group of people that would help us process the adoption from a biblical perspective. This group met with us a couple of times to help process our motives, our timing, and ask us all of the hard questions. They continued processing with us through emails each step of the way.
This group included our small group members, friends that had been walking with us and knew the deepest pieces of our struggles, as well as a friend who has adopted multiple children. Before we said yes to the birth mother, we leaned heavily on these trusted friends and continued to loop them into each step of the way to make sure we stayed on a good path.
2. Financial support: While we chose to apply for a grant through the Abba fund, our agency came back and asked for more money that we weren’t expecting. It was stressful, but in one week, three checks came in from friends (one anonymous) that totaled within $20 of what we needed. We couldn’t believe it!
If people you know are fundraising, give what you can. If they aren’t fundraising, and you have resources, you can still give. You could write a check like one friend did, just wanting support us and this child; you could give like my parents have toward something specific like a crib or diapers; or, you can give gift cards. There are so many options. We also had someone pay for us to have our house cleaned once a month for the first six months! Every financial gift given was a huge blessing for us as we worked to stewarded our finances well.
3. Family: One of my favorite moments was when our family dropped everything to come see us in the hospital. We originally weren’t going to have anyone come until all of the papers were signed, but decided later to invite our families. They were so flexible and patient with us. Our family purchased different items we would need, including a car seat. They brought us meals while we were there and even did some of our laundry. They also threw us a “family party” when we left the hospital. We were exhausted, but it was so perfect to have a meal and celebrate our son—their nephew, cousin, and grandson!
4. Nursery/Registry crew: We had several people wanting to throw us a shower and do things for us before our son was born. As we processed with our “adoption counsel,” we landed that it was best for us to stay present and focus on the people over the things. Two weeks before our son was born, a few friends came to me with a plan. They asked if they could “own” the nursery and committed to having it all removed if the birth mom ended up choosing to parent. I shared with them the basics of what we would want/need: a place for our son to sleep, a rocking chair, and a rug. I also gave them a simple color scheme I liked. They created a registry where more family and friends could help.
They went above and beyond anything we could have imagined. When we arrived home from the hospital with our son, the nursery had a crib, a dresser, a closet full of clothes, diapers, wipes, pacifiers—everything we could possibly need. There was a beautiful rug and chair just like I had hoped. Drapes were hung, and pictures from the hospital were already framed. They thought of every detail. It was incredible, and humbling.
5. Home and food crew: While we were in the hospital meeting our son, our friends also stocked us up on groceries, had our house cleaned, set up a meal calendar for people to bring us meals for several months, donated frozen breast milk for our son, and even had flowers in every room. We still cannot believe all they did for us.
6. Babysitting: My mom came and stayed with us for a few days to allow us to get a few hours of sleep. She not only helped feed and care for our new son, but also did things around the house. We also had an overwhelming number of friends offer to babysit for us. Some friends came for a few hours during the day so that I could take a nap (or a shower) once my husband was back at work, while other friends and family came so that we could take an hour to go grab a meal together.
For over a year now, we have had a few friends consistently come and spend time with our son. It doesn’t feel like babysitting; they have become family. We can’t put into words what it means to us to have family and friends care for and love our son.
7. Community/mentors: I don’t know where we would be without these friends. Some of our friends were the ones that our birth mother originally met. They helped her choose life for our now son. Coming along birth mothers is one of the greatest things that you can do to support an adoption, both before they have the child and afterward when they sign the papers and leave without a child. The next season after giving birth will be really difficult, and the birth mom will need support.
There have been two women specifically who have walked with our son’s birth mother through her entire pregnancy and then for months afterward. They have prayed with her, discipled her, and been a friend to her.
You don’t have to be an expert in adoption to help a birth mom. Just be a friend. Be available, allow her to share openly with you, and then remind her of truth and to trust in the Lord. Speak words to her that encourage unity in the adoption, not division. Encourage her to believe the best about the adoptive parents and to be honest with them.
Our community and mentors have also played a crucial role for us post-birth. They have helped us process each step we have taken in opening up our adoption. They pray for all of us involved. Lastly, they provide a space for us to speak vulnerably and then remind us to trust in the Lord and believe the best in the birth mom as well.
We can’t thank our family and friends enough for all of their love and support. It truly took a whole community to welcome our son and put this gospel on display throughout our story. We hope these examples encourage you to be a source of help and support for those around you who are welcoming children through adoption.
From the tiniest unborn life to the elderly at the end of life, from immigrants and refugees to those trafficked against their will, all life matters to God. Join the ERLC in Washington, D.C. on January 17-18, 2019, for Evangelicals for Life, one of the largest gatherings of pro-life Christians in the country. Speakers include Russell Moore, J.D. Greear, Steven Curtis Chapman, Keith and Kristyn Getty, and more. Register now to join us!