As a writer for my own personal blog, I post frequently about adoption. Recently, I’ve come to the realization that many people, even those that I’m very close to, either do one of two things. Either they read the posts and think they are inspiring but struggle to see how it relates to them, or either they don’t read it at all because they think it has nothing to do with them. What everyone fails to see is that adoption does in fact relate to them and adoption is for everyone. Does that mean everyone should adopt or will want to adopt? Absolutely not. But it does mean that everyone has a role in adoption.
Many are probably already involved in adoption and don’t even realize it. So many of us think that we actually have to do some big grand gesture when that isn’t necessarily the case. There are lots of little ways to help. And if you take the sum of all the little ways that each of us can help, then it stands to reason that we could in fact move toward the dissolution of an orphan care crisis.
Here are some simple ways to be involved in adoption and/or foster care for those who do not feel led to actually adopt or foster.
Sponsor Adoptive Hopefuls – One of the largest barriers to many who want to adopt, either domestically or internationally, is the cost associated with the adoption process. In many cases, adoption can cost thousands of dollars. These costs are for all the paperwork that has to be processed, profile development, case workers, home studies, and attorneys. And in many cases with domestic adoption, expectant parents are in need of financial assistance due to increased doctor visits and other expenses that they were not prepared for. Many couples, or individuals, do not have the extra financial means to cover these costs yet are willing to open their homes and hearts to love these children needing forever families. That’s where you can help. You likely have a family member, friend, or church member who has the heart but is lacking funds. Be attentive and seek ways that you can sponsor those you know, or even don’t know, through their adoption process.
Sponsor Foster Families – Again, maybe you do not find yourself in a position to become a foster parent but if you look around there are many just in your community. Contact your local foster care agencies or churches to see how you can help sponsor these families. Reach out and just give them love and a little bit of your time. They are making great sacrifices to open up their homes in many instances to numerous children who come from various backgrounds and have various issues. This can take a huge toll physically and emotionally on foster families. Ask if there are simple things you can do to help them. Maybe it is as simple as bringing a meal, paying them a visit, or even giving them a night off for a date night. Find a local family to sponsor and help encourage and reassure them.
Volunteer – In today’s world overflowing with busyness, this is one of the toughest commitments to make – something that involves more of your time. But volunteering doesn’t have to take away what little time you may have left to give. There are many organizations and ways to be involved that suit everyone’s schedules. Whether it is volunteering several hours at a local pregnancy crisis center or just a few minutes here and there sharing information on social media, it is doing something.
Donate – This may be your time with volunteering or it may be monetary as in sponsorships. Or it may not look like either of these things. Maybe it just means buying a cute new shirt from a couple who is selling t-shirts for an adoption fundraiser. Or maybe it is donating items for a yard sale or consignment sale benefiting an adoptive couple. The thing is, we all have something to donate – time, money, items, and support.
Educate – Maybe you don’t have the extra finances or time. But most of us do have some outlet on social media that we can use to help educate others about adoption. Share stories from those you know who have adopted or those seeking to adopt. Share your own stories. The point is that you never know who you may be reaching out to that needs to hear the very words that you are sharing. Maybe they are contemplating adoption and need that extra encouragement. Or maybe you know others who have many misconceptions about adoption itself. Use your sphere of influence to help break down those barriers and educate them about the adoption process and to share stories of hope.
Be a Friend – Many times those of us going through the adoption process just need a friend to talk to. Be an encourager and cheerleader for your friends. Many of them have gone through infertility struggles, failed placements, financial strains, and much more. It takes a toll on them emotionally and they need their friends and family to surround them with loved and support. Be intentional and spend one on one time with a friend just having coffee, going to a movie, or anything fun to let their mind be free for a while. You don’t have to have all the right words to say or even have “been in their shoes.” You just have to be a friend.
Adoption truly is for everyone. Maybe your role in adoption is not to adopt or to foster, but as you can see there are many roles that you can have. Each of us plays an integral part in making forever families happen. What role are you going to play?