Every growing family inevitably encounters some level of struggle as it transitions with each new family member. For families bringing a child home through adoption, the encouragement and support of those in their community is key. Here are 5 challenges common to new families growing through adoption and ideas on how you can help encourage them in their need:
1. Sleeping through the night
Children who come home through adoption are often faced with a nearly overwhelming number of transitions in a very short amount of time. New people, new foods, new sights and sounds, and even jet lag are all elements that need to become comfortable for the child coming home. And no matter what age a child is when they enter their family though adoption, the myriad of changes can often interfere with their ability to sleep peacefully. During the first few months following placement (sometimes longer), parents need to be patient as they work to help their child feel secure and connected enough to rest peacefully.
How can you help? Offer to provide playtime at the house for an hour or two so that adoptive parents can take a nap…even if just on the couch in the room where you’re playing. It may not seem like a huge help but can be such an encouragement for a parent who is sleep deprived.
2. Finding foods that everyone will eat
For many new families, food is a stressor for both parents and children. It is most often the case that a child adopted from abroad will be unfamiliar with the food choices provided in their new home and environment. Many children come into their families with food insecurities. Always having designated healthy snacks on hand that are available at all times to your child is a great way to reassure them that they will always have the food they need.
How can you help? Provide a meal for the family that considers the dietary histories/preferences of the child and family –or– offer to pick up items on their grocery list while you’re out.
3. High Emotions
New families are operating on sensory overload. For many new parents, certain comments and questions can be jarring (consider reading Show Hope’s blog post, “4 Comments About Adoption You Didn’t Know Were Offensive.”) This list can provide valuable insight for ways to communicate lovingly to and about families who are built through adoption.
How can you help? Find ways to use your words and actions to affirm the beauty and dignity of the families you know that were built through adoption.
4. Learning to Trust
It takes time for trust to be built in the minds and hearts of children who have experienced loss and early attachment injuries and trauma. As you seek to find meaningful ways to care for children and their adoptive families, commit to pray for healing to come and trust to be strengthened.
How can you help? Learn more about how to restore hope to children who have experienced such difficult beginnings, please consider joining us for an upcoming Empowered to Connect Conference. This conference will provide tools for families, friends and professionals who seek to love and care for these children.
5. Financial Strains
Just because an adoption has been finalized does not mean the financial weight has been lifted. For many families, the adoption expense carries over even after the adoption process is complete. Pray for God’s provision for these families moving forward.
How can you help? Visit our blog post “3 Ways to Support Adoptive Families” to find ways that you can help ease the stress for newly adoptive families.
As you look for ways to encourage newly adoptive families as they begin to find their “new normal,” consider the many avenues available through Show Hope! Connect with us to learn more about the adoption process, adoption assistance, ways to provide financial grants, and other creative ways to be involved in orphan care. We are excited to partner with you in the movement to care for orphans!