Recently my husband and I experienced the one thing all waiting adoptive parents fear: a failed adoption. We were matched for months and all seemed well, but as time went on she changed her mind. She went into labor and informed the agency that she was going to parent her baby boy. It was a difficult time for our family as we grieved that loss, but we had amazing friends rally around us. Through this experience I realized how precious small acts of love can be.
I often fail at this.
When I hear about a friend grieving a loss or going through a difficult time, I want to reach out to them but I’m not sure how. I always feel like I should do something big. When I can’t, I wind up doing nothing. Can you relate?
I have a t-shirt in my closet that says, “Do Small Things with Great Love.” I’d like to encourage all of us to let go of the need to do something big. Our small deeds can make a huge impact on a hurting friend.
On the day we found out about our failed adoption, a good friend brought over cupcakes and wine. She had also experienced a failed adoption (two, in fact) so she knew that the best thing for us was a little bit of decadence.
The next day another friend brought over dinner (always a huge hit no matter what the reason). She also wanted to give me something meaningful to commemorate the baby we lost, so she brought over several small gifts in a darling box. That box sits on a shelf in the nursery as a reminder of the little boy we still love and pray for, even though he wasn’t meant to be ours.
I’m not much of a gardener, but I have a dear friend who is. She brought me a beautiful, hard-to-kill plant to brighten my porch. Every time I glance at it I feel the warmth of her friendship during that difficult time.
The biggest blessing, though, was when my friends sat with me, talked with me, and let me process my feelings. They didn’t give me advice, or offer the typical words of comfort. I know that God has a plan. I know He will sustain me. I know all of the “right” things to say, but sometimes life stinks. We hurt, and we should take time to grieve our losses. My friends let me do that.
I received text messages, Facebook messages, and good, old-fashioned hugs from people who were praying for us. It only took a few seconds to make me feel loved, and God usually put me on their heart at the time I most needed encouragement. I knew that God hadn’t forgotten me. Even when I was unable to pray for myself, He cared so much that he asked other people to pray on my behalf.
Loss is all around us. Whether it’s adoption related or not, we all know someone who is grieving. Because of my friends’ example, I’m trying to let go of my “go big or go home” mentality and remember to do small things with great love.
After all, small deeds are always better than big intentions.