One of the most overwhelming times in my life is when we welcomed new kids into our home by adopting through foster care. Having them in our home was new for us, and it’s new for them. There were all types of fears and both positive and negative behaviors. I was weary, but my load was lightened greatly when neighbors, friends and our church family pitched in to help. We received some meals, a few gifts, and some gift cards. Even recently we’ve had friends and church members step up to offer childcare. (And childcare for seven kids is a lot!) Also, there were so many kind words, text messages for encouragement, and prayers. It really lifted me up!
Here are ways my friends were blessed, too. Take notes on ways you can bless foster and adoptive families who you know!
Friends brought over food, diapers and formula and other necessities while we got settled. Kids are often dropped off with nothing. Also, bringing coffee and doing meal dropoffs for our family were a big help. They didn’t ask … they just DID. Just show up! It’s hard to even know sometimes what to ask for. People who don’t wait to be asked are awesome. —Krystie
Friends threw us an “adoption” shower. We took the money and bought our three adopted kids a new wooden swing set. They enjoyed it for many years! —Sherrie
People helped by throwing baby showers, giving hand-me-down clothes, loaning or giving baby equipment, having a positive attitude and enthusiasm, and not treating our children differently or calling them “adopted children.” —Heidi
Our church prayed for us! Also, when we fostered, they helped us get clothes for the kids. —Becky
My husband’s job threw a shower for our first two kids. Our best friends threw a shower for first three. For the last three in my new city, my new friends brought meals for a week. —Karla
We are foster parents and my mom’s group at church made meals for us the first two weeks and donated toys and baby supplies. They have been such a huge blessing! —Charity
Friends just show up. We had a couple who came out to California where we were adopting and celebrated with us and served as a hand to hold after the emotional roller coaster we had gone through. —LeighAnn
My church threw me a baby shower. I had nothing, and we were surprised to have only 24 hours to get ready for her. Our family kept her so we could celebrate our first anniversary away for a couple days. —Laura
I remember when I was fostering and running a daycare, I had a local foster mom who offered to go to the foster Christmas toy giveaway for me since I couldn’t take the day off. She was like Mrs Claus delivering toys to my kids! —Lesley
Loved my child. I can still list the names of people who accepted my 4-year-old son with open arms from the moment he stepped off the plane. —Trisha
The most important thing in my opinion is having a village of friends, family and fellow foster/adopt families to surround you and your kiddos, for support. Fostering as well as adoption is a roller coaster of emotional challenges and to have a lot support is by far what kept us afloat! —Niki
Meals for the family is so helpful. —Shannan
Prayer was huge. A shower was very helpful, and just loving support was amazing. —Susan
The first week we got our children, people brought meals to us and gave us financial gifts, which was totally surprising but so helpful with all the costs we incurred setting up bedrooms, etc. Later, people willing to babysit, attend birthday parties so the kids felt connected, and most importantly, acceptance and love from others so they felt a part of our lives right away. —Julie
The system can be heartbreaking. Having other foster/adoptive parents as support and a sounding board got us through so many years. Others, even family members, cannot fully empathize, even though well intended. Prayer is the key for the daily strength and wisdom in parenting these very special kids. —Christy
We were very thankful that each of our children, adopted as infants, were always accepted as OURS–not as outsiders, not as someone else’s child or family member. Our church friends gave us a baby shower, which was wonderful! Everyone always accepted our adoption in the same way they would have a biological child of ours. —Karen
One adoptive mom wrote a beautiful note to our baby sharing how wanted she was and how prayed for she was. The perfect keepsake we’ll cherish forever. Other things that meant a lot:
- Being excited with us was huge.
- Loving our child immediately, even before it was final and safe.
- Gift cards for diapers/formula, sharing baby clothes, etc. was a huge help financially.
- Meals to help the first couple of weeks were a blessing.
- Telling us throughout the process they were praying for us and asking for updates or asking to understand the process.
- Wanting to visit but being respectful of time/holding/feeding especially at first.
- Not expecting food/entertainment if they came to visit.
- Offering to help with dishes (or giving paper products).
- Financial support.
- Celebrating when it’s final but being cautious to be appropriate if kids are older.
Respite care, meals, activities with individual kids, clothes, Christmas gifts, mentor individual children. Something that really touched me was when my biological kids were included, too… Their world has been turned upside down as well and it is nice for them to feel supported and treated similarly to their new siblings. —Kimberly
Friends washed laundry while watching my little guy, seven weeks of free childcare until he could go to daycare, watched him while I had a nap after being sick all night, praying over him, clothes given, furniture given, listening when it is hard, encouraging, and some meals. —Andrea
Our church enlisted some of us who have grown children and more free time on our hands to be foster companions. We shop, run errands, hunt down stuff, make phone calls, pray, and whatever else we can do within the parameters of foster care rules, in order to free the foster parents to do what only they can do. As a family, we have also included our nephew’s foster kids in our family get-togethers. —Betty
Prayed, listened, encouraged, let me cry, brought meals. —Tonya
As you can see these signs of care and love mean A LOT to foster and adoptive parents. Also, don’t ask WHAT is needed … just do something. Everything means a lot. I know!