It Takes A Village
“It takes a village to raise a child, but it takes a village to bring one home, too.”
If you’ve spent any time around the adoption community, you’ve likely heard this phrase before. It’s a well known phrase for good reason: Adoption can be very expensive, and it often takes the help of others to finance your adoption journey.
But there’s more wisdom to this phrase than just financing. At Both Hands, we’ve heard dozens of stories from adoptive families about how their community has shown up in ways they never expected, but dearly needed. It seems that having the support of their community was vital to the success of their adoption, and yet, little seems to be said on how to build communities like these.
First, let’s take a look at the three building blocks of community to better understand how they form. Then, let’s talk about how community building can help your adoption journey and some ideas for building your own!
Experience, Values, Goals
We believe the foundation of every community is shared values, shared goals, and shared experience. Let’s break each of these down a little further:
- Values: If you’re in the process of adoption, you likely value things like family, caring for children, and orphan causes. Think about the people in your life who carry the same values… These are the folks most likely to support you in your adoption journey.
- Goals: The goal of your adoption journey is to bring the adoptee home! Many people you know would happily join you in this goal… provided you ask (more on this later!) Goals need stories to create motivation and momentum, so the question is: Are you sharing your story? Don’t hide the fire that fuels your desire to adopt, because if you share it far and wide, you never know who may join you by the fire!
- Experiences: Most of us have a few communities in our lives, such as church, co-workers, family, etc. In each of these groups, people are sharing experiences together on a regular basis. So how do you create new experiences that gather people together around your adoption? Let’s explore some opportunities below!
Village Building Ideas
Here’s some ideas for engaging your community during your adoption journey.
- Ask one or two friends if they will be your “release valve” friend during the adoption process… Someone you can call to vent any frustrations or difficulties you encounter along the way.
- If you have children, ask if your kids can have a playdate for an evening, or sleepover for a weekend! This could free up much-needed time for you and/or your spouse to tackle some adoption-related tasks.
- Ask neighbors if they’d be willing to start a “Cook Crew” with you. A “Cook Crew” will schedule a regular day (For example, every other Sunday) where everyone involved prepares a family-size meal that can be frozen and reheated. Everyone makes enough to share with all the others in the “crew” and meets together later that day to exchange them. So in a crew of three people, for example, you bake just one meal and get three in return! This can free up multiple evenings to focus on other tasks.
- Ask your church leadership how you can get involved in your church community. The most successful families we’ve coached are typically involved in their church in multiple ways, such as Bible study groups, outreach events, or other volunteer opportunities. Don’t be the couple that slides in the back row for the occasional Sunday service and slips out without talking with others! Your best chance of building a loving community around your adoption is at your church, so get involved however you can.
- One of the best ways to create community is through fundraising! Fundraising is not simply about raising money, it’s about inviting people to be a part of your adoption journey in a meaningful, impactful way. Check out some of our ideas for creating experiences through fundraising here!
Did you notice how all of the community building ideas involve asking people? That’s because building a community doesn’t happen on its own. Every community starts with initiative and vulnerability. It’s not always easy, but we promise you it’s worth it.
It really does take a village to bring a child home! Gathering that village may not always be easy or comfortable, but their support, joy, and encouragement will be priceless. In case you’re wondering how to get going, a Both Hands project is a great place to start! A Both Hands project brings people 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 learn more about how it all works!
*Based on the average amount raised per project among all adoption fund and orphan care projects in 2020.