Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Confessions of a Waiting Mommy: What TO say to Waiting Families

If you’re anything like me, you love reading those articles that tell you everything NOT to say to adoptive families. Things like…
“How much did they cost?”
“But why don’t you want kids of your own?”
“You know they’re going to end up having a ton of issues, right?”

We haven’t even been matched to a child yet but we’ve heard quite the list of memorable things. We’ve experienced people asking out of pure curiosity and a desire to know more about our journey (you’re sweet, you can stay) to people asking out of sheer disapproval and a desire to make us change our minds (you’re rude, get out of here). Whatever the case may be, adoption is a foreign concept to many people and it’s our job as adoptive families to inform the world of not only what NOT to say, but also what TO say and do through these journeys.

I’ve compiled a list of a few things that people in our circle have done and said that have absolutely blessed us more than words can say as we have been in the waiting stage. Our people are A.MAZ.ING. I can’t say it enough. From our neighbors to family members to bank tellers to friends to church family to random strangers who hear about what God has called us to, we are blessed. It takes a village and our village is simply the best.

1. Tell them you’re praying for them.
It may sound cliché, but its true. When people tell us they are asking for the Lord’s guidance and protection for us and for our child, it means the world. There is NO greater thing you can do for an adoptive family than to pray for them.  
Our friends have been so creative with this. Some families have told us they pray for us on their daily walks as they pass by our house. Others have told us they pray for us during church when my husband leads worship. When we shared that we had moved up to 11th on the waiting list, someone told us they will be praying for us every day at 11:00.

2. Celebrate small victories with them.
Moving up one spot on an unending waiting list may not seem like much to you, but to an adoptive family awaiting that ever so important phone call, it’s basically like winning a million dollars. I remember when we FINALLY (as in waiting-for-this-piece-of-paper-for-four-months kind of FINALLY) got my husband’s birth certificate. Our people went insane. You would have thought we had just won the Boston Marathon as excited as they were. It was incredible.

3. Get your kids involved.
One of my absolute favorite moments from our journey so far has been when I found a random assortment of candy, beads, and hand-picked flowers on our front porch with a note written in the cutest 5-year old handwriting I’ve ever seen from our “secret nebers” saying how excited they were about our adoption. “Will it be a boy or a gal? I can’t wait until it happense.” Our neighbors share our journey with their kids, telling them about their new friend that will soon be arriving. What an incredible blessing to know our child already has friends that are SO excited to run around the cul-de-sac with, get dirty with, and do life with!

4. Surprise them with fun things during the waiting period.
A few months ago, my friends planned a surprise get-together for me as an encouragement in our waiting. OH MY WORD. It could not have been more perfect. We went to a pottery-painting place and all the girls painted things for our child’s room! There were cupcakes, coffee, and beautiful company. They all wrote notes and placed them in a jar for me to read when I needed to be reminded of God’s faithfulness, and spent time praying for us and our child at the end of the night. It was such a random gesture that I spent the first few minutes of it completely shocked and trying to figure out what on earth we were even celebrating. I honestly thought we had walked into someone else’s surprise party until I realized I knew everyone in the room. It was so perfectly unexpected and meant the world to me.

5. Let them cry.
Sometimes I cry because the thought of the loss and tragedy our child will experience before even learning to read is unbearable to me. Sometimes I cry because I miss our child whom I’ve never seen so much that it hurts. Sometimes I cry for their birth mother, because for one reason or another she will not see them start Kindergarten, or wear a cap and gown, or marry the love of their life, or raise a child of their own. For whatever reason it is, I do a lot of crying. As beautiful as adoption is, it comes as a result of something horrific, and it’s ok to mourn that. In fact, it’s healthy. I am so thankful for the friends who don’t feel awkward when I sob over the phone, the adoptive moms I see at church who let me cry in their arms in the middle of the lobby on a Sunday morning, and our family members who understand firsthand the joy and the tragedy of raising someone else’s baby.

The waiting period hasn’t been the easiest, but these beautiful gestures from our friends have been such an encouragement. We are reminded by their words and actions everyday that God has called us to something that he promises to bring to fruition, and for them we are forever grateful.

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