Four Tips From Adoptive Parents
As wonderful as adoption can be, the road to adoption can be a difficult one. Most people know that there are significant financial obstacles to adopting, but there are other factors that often go unnoticed… until you’re faced with them! To help uncover some of those issues, we asked the experts, our Both Hands families!
At Both Hands, we’ve coached over 1,000 adoptive families through their Both Hands projects. That’s a lot of adoption journeys! We asked them what obstacles they faced along the way, and what advice they would give to those who are at the beginning of their journey.
We’ve grouped their answers into a few themes that consistently came up in their responses. Let’s check them out below!
The idea of building community around your adoption was mentioned more than anything else in our interviews! Stephanie told us,
“We needed people to come alongside us on an emotional level, but it can be difficult to ask for help emotionally. Plan to have somebody to talk to, both as a couple and individually. Great people to talk to are other adoptive couples or friends near to adoption. Both our adoptions were special needs, so tapping into the community of families on Facebook who have adopted special needs was extremely helpful.”
Unfortunately, some people find it difficult to empathize with adoptive parents, and the emotional toll of adoption can be difficult to understand for people who haven’t been through it. Wendy told us,
“I wish I had known that others, even close family, would struggle to understand what we were going through. They wouldn’t know what to say or what to ask, and that was really hard. So to me, it’s so important that you find somebody that you can talk to about the parts of adoption that others don’t understand. Find somebody, even if it’s just in a Facebook group, to talk to about the difficulties of seeing close friends or family getting pregnant. Plan for the difficult emotions, talk to your spouse, other adoptive friends, and don’t be shy about reaching out.”
Many families’ adoption journeys will take a year or more until they finally bring their child home. All that time spent filing paperwork and waiting can be anxiety-provoking. Jenny told us,
“I wish I could go back to the beginning of our adoption journey and tell myself, ‘Just. Chill. Out. God’s timing is perfect, don’t try to get ahead of Him. God has a purpose for every part of this process.’ Through our adoption I discovered that patience is truly a skill, and learning patience is necessary. The timing is what the timing is, and there’s a purpose for that timing.”
Similarly, Chelsie said,
“Yes, what you’ve heard is true. Paperwork will be hours and hours of your life. But it’s okay, just do the next step, one at a time. God will be faithful in the process. I promise all this is worth it.”
Not all timing issues center on the more granular processes of adoption. Sometimes the difficulty can be in the unknown. Wendy told us,
“When you’re pregnant, you know you have nine months. When you’re adopting, you’re pregnant on paper but with no due date. We were in the adoption process for four years, so to not know the due date for that long was very emotionally challenging. Yet for adoptive parents, that ‘due date’ can happen in an instant despite the wait. For us, we got the call on Thursday to be at the hospital on Friday!”
Many adoptive couples worry about how they’re going to afford the cost of their adoption. However, taking that leap of faith was an important step for many of our families. Robert said:
“Deciding to adopt without having the majority of the funds was our family’s biggest step of faith yet, as I imagine it is for many Christian families adopting for the first time. It was a difficult but awesome decision for us. I encourage you to pray that the Lord will increase your faith, and trust that the Lord will provide.”
Chelsie also experienced God’s providence in her family’s adoption journey:
“Seemingly out of nowhere, God would provide financially, abundantly! It felt like little reminders throughout our journey where God would tell us, ‘Your son is already well taken care of. I already love this child more than even you do.’”
Jay perfectly summed up what he wishes he could tell himself back at the beginning of their adoption:
“I’d tell myself not to be worried about fundraising and finances at the beginning. You’ve got that big number looming, and you know what you need, but it’s amazing all the support you’ll receive from people you know and even people you really don’t know. With Both Hands, there is such a great reach of folks who want to be involved but wouldn’t know how to help otherwise. That’s their way to be involved. So try not to lean into anxiety at the beginning. You’ve got so many folks and organizations and companies that will come around you.”
Asking For Help
If there’s one takeaway from our Both Hands families, it’s this: Don’t try to go at it alone! Many of us struggle with asking others for help, but it was a crucial skill to learn for many of our adoptive families. Stephanie said,
“Don’t be afraid to ask for help, whether it’s emotional or financial help. Culturally, it can be extremely hard to ask for help, and we certainly felt that pressure. But once we got over that hurdle and started asking for help, it was amazing! People want to be a part of your adoption story. They’re desperate for you to give them ways to do that. Seeing that really helped me feel more comfortable. It gave me chills. Even people we had zero connection with somehow found out about our adoption and out of their hearts helped us.”
Robert shared more about the difficulty of asking for help:
“I’m very blessed that for most of my adult life, I’ve never had to be in the position to ask others for help. So having to do that for our adoption was new, and really anxiety-provoking. But wow, did the Lord provide! We (Christians) have the head knowledge that the Lord will provide, but it was a whole other thing to really experience that first hand.”
You know what our families told us no matter how difficult the journey was? It was worth it. Whether the obstacles were gathering community, patience with timing, financials, or asking for help, in the end the journey was worth it.
At Both Hands, we can help you overcome some of these challenges! A Both Hands project brings your community together to work toward the goal of serving a widow in need, all while raising funds for your adoption costs. Over 1,000 families have successfully completed Both Hands projects across the US, raising an average $15,000* for their adoptions. Click here to get involved!
*Average amount of funds raised of all Both Hands projects completed in 2020.