Tuesday, November 8, 2011

What Can I Do to Help? (National Adoption Month Day 8)

So it's awkward and most of the time I just don't want to answer. We really want to be super parents and not need anything. Do you see the big "S" emblazoned across my chest? Ya, me neither. Truthfully, we just don't always want to share how rough it sometimes is.

Get over it...(talking to myself once again)

Sanity is important. Who knew?

"What can I do to help?"

Uhhh...ummmmm...I often find it hard to gauge if they really want to know. NOT to be mean, but I've found myself thinking, "Do you really want to cook the family a meal? Do you KNOW how many of us there are?!"

I don't want to seem to needy (though I'm mentally begging them to read my mind).

I hate it, but in my own self judgement I find myself going, "If I tell them I could use help, they will start thinking we just have too many children and can't handle it."

I'm learning to get over it, but it's taking awhile. I'm learning to be honest and say, "You serious? Hopefully you are because I'm gonna tell you."

There are some AWESOME posts out there on ways to support adoptive families once home, so I thought I'd throw my two cents in. Please, if you have more ideas, post them in "comments". I would LOVE to hear them!

Remember, I'm not needy (yes, I am).....

1.Whether a 1st child or the 10th, there are ALWAYS needs. I've heard (thankfully not referring to us) people say, "Well, it's their sixth, they don't need a shower. I'm sure they have everything."

Here's the reality. Their car seat is 10 years old and doesn't meet safety standards. The clothes that have been passed down, well...they are wondering why they ever put them on their child in the first place (clown suit comes to mind). The stroller has a wheel about to fall off from over use and (especially if the child coming home is older) they could seriously use some sensory toys.

Yup, I'm talking about a baby/child shower OR (to tell you the truth) a money tree where funds are collected to help out with all the eventualities and expenses that come. It could be used for the adoption, for medical needs, or for the items you still need to purchase. Both these things are a TON of help.

The thing is I've learned something the hard way. The shower (whether presenting presents or a money tree), needs to be before the child comes home. I had an AWESOME friend (Shout out to Sonya!) that wanted to give us a baby shower for the twins, BUT....Gabe and I came home with the cycling fevers and what we thought was malaria. Not only that, but it's REALLY a good idea (for attachment) to hibernate for awhile....not having many outside the family introduced to your children. They need to attach to you, not shop for other parents.

2. MEALS~Did you noticed I capitalized that? (hee hee) We had around two weeks of meals cooked for us once the twins came home. This really should be listed as number one. The family is coming home (often) exhausted, spent, and emotionally drained. It's been a long road, that is only really just starting.

Having a friend take on this endeavor? Priceless. BTW my friend Donna rocked this when the twins came home!

I suggest (just from past insanity...urrr...ummm...I mean experience) that two to three weeks (at least every other day) is a HUGE blessing! For those arranging this, here's a really helpful idea. Contact their Church (if you are not a member) and ask them for a list of their friends (by email...no pressure). Also, ask them if you can post to their facebook (to their local friends). This should insure that their lists will start to fill up.

3. After a few weeks cabin fever often sets in. The family needs to circle the wagons to promote attachment (will post on this later). Don't forget them. Call to see how things are going. Listen and be sympathetic, because you may be one of the only adults they talk to. Ignore them if they ask if you have a boo boo. Ask if it's ok if you drop by, even at night, to just sit down and talk or bring a movie. Sometimes the really hard stuff in attachment can go on for a long time. If your friendship is worth it, ride it out...hang on and be there for them.

4. Though I don't usually suggest babysitting, since attachment has to be one of the first priorities, I do suggest offering to take the other children out. Offer to have them come over. Offer the older kids to have a sleep over.

Help the other kids have some fun and normalcy during, what sometimes can be, a rough time transitioning.

5. Offer to take the other kids to their scheduled activities for 4-6 weeks (the offer doesn't have to be that long, but that time frame is a pretty good general one). Often other parents who are already going to be there can offer.

When we can, if Thomas is home, one of us will take our blessings and we like that...but that isn't always possible.

Rides to school, sports, youth group, Church, etc...you wouldn't believe how much help that is.


So that's it...these are the ideas, just off the top of my head. These are the things that really help. REALLY HELP...

So for all of you reading this asking what you can do to help? When I say "nothing"...ignore me please, I've gone temporarily insane.

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Join the momentum...it is a beautiful place to be. It's not always easy, but then the best things never are.

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