We recently asked a question to our social media audience:
“What’s one piece of advice you would give to first-time adoptive parents?”
Individuals from all sides of the adoption triad—adoptees, adoptive parents, and birth parents—were encouraged to share tips. And we were blown away by the responses!
So here goes. Whether you’re considering adoption, adjusting to life with your child, or settled into your routine, here’s some advice from others who’ve been there.
Prepare for struggle
Accept that waiting and the entire process is an emotional roller coaster but that God is perfect in his timing… trust Him. —Shelly
It’s going to be challenging but don’t give up! —Monica
It’s hard and it’s worth it! —Trish
Do it scared. —Tina
Honor their past
Children love and want to know what they can about their birth family. Curiosity and desire for relationships with their biological family isn’t betrayal or rejection of their adoption nor their adoptive family. —Tara
Support their native culture and language regardless of age. —Candace
Read the Be the Bridge Transracial Adoption Guide before you do anything else! —Becca
Find your people
Find your tribe… people who have walked this journey, people who can share and reassure and council you through, people who will be there through the good and the bad and that truly get it. —Jennifer
Be very careful who you take advice or criticism from. You, your family, and your children are unique. Pray for guidance. —Leatta
There’s a lot of negativity surrounding adoption. It’s best to learn who’s really supportive of you and your journey (whatever part of the adoption triad you are) and just ignore the rest. —Heather
Comparison is the thief of joy—just don’t. Every journey is different and I believe that God equips us to be the parent they need—even when it feels like we are dropping the ball and making all the wrong decisions. —Elizabeth
Read read read about trauma and TBRI training is a must. —Angela
Learn all you can about trauma and how it affects the brain. And find yourself a true support group of friends for the journey. —Erica
Make your world small. Enjoy bonding and cocooning. Don’t pass your kid around. They need immediate family and everyday activities at home. Speaking from an older child adoption perspective, study TBRI. You’ll parent much different than your bio children and that’s ok. —Danja
Celebrate God’s work
Keep a journal (even a bullet journal) of all the ways God provides for you on your journey. It’s wild to look back and see what He did! —Trisha
Journal the God moments when you knew he was 100% behind you in this… and then read over them when the going gets tough. Traumatized children can hide it from others, but falling apart at home means home is their safe place! —Rachel
God is at work. Join Him, and it will all be fine. —Chad
Make a life storybook for your child so your child knows the truth about his life and feels valued. —Alex
Lean into Jesus
Trust Jesus. Learn everything you possibly can about trauma, but when your kid is screaming his face off at you because his fear response has kicked in, you need to call on the name of Jesus to have the love and power to even get past your kid’s trauma before you can implement any of the tools. You will feel weaker than you have ever felt before, but his power is made perfect in weakness. Trust Jesus. —Jenny
No matter how kids come to our family—planned pregnancies, surprise pregnancies, infant adoption, teen adoption, foster care—or what traumas bring them to us, this is God’s plan for our good, for their good, and for His glory. He was not asleep when loss or trauma (ours or theirs) happened. Adoption is not God’s plan B—for infertility or for alternate parents. Our situation, our kids’ situations, is part of God’s perfect plan. —Jennie
Don’t over-stress it, none of this is actually on your shoulders: the finances, the exact country, the exact special need your child may or may not have. Rest on God. You step into His plan, and He funnels you to your child. What began in brokenness gets to be redeemed. Not by you—by God. —Whitney
The list of advice could go on and on because the learning never ends!
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