Have you ever noticed how a simple smile or positive phrase can make a huge difference in someone’s day? Words have layers. Deep meanings. They have the power for both good and bad. In a sense, they carry an unexplainable energy.
Learning this energy and using more positive language is something adoptive parents greatly appreciate. Especially if you are a friend or family member. Last week, I featured an article on Adoption Choices of New York about “Things to Never Say to an Adoptive Parent.” This time — I’m imparting several suggestions on what to say instead.
I’m so happy for you!
So often, adoptive parents hear something along the lines of “oh…aren’t you going to have any children of your own?” A common misconception with adoption. Implying that the child isn’t the adoptive parents’ “own” negates the relationship they will have with him or her. It also can evoke painful memories or any hardships the adoptive parents have faced. Positive language will assure that this gets avoided at all costs.
Adoption is full of emotions. Excitement. Stress. Chaos. The whole gambit.
Adoptive parents want to feel like others share in the amazing journey with them. So, expressing this positive thought will do just that. It not only shows excitement, but also lets them know that you’re on board and can’t wait to meet their new son or daughter.
I’m interested in the adoption process and everything that goes into it.
This is what to say instead of: “how much did he/she cost?” Ideally, if someone is asking about the how much an adoptee costs, they should be pursuing the adoption process themselves. Otherwise, it would be best to not ask and use Google on your own time.
However, for those genuinely interested in the adoption journey, this is a positive way of phrasing it. Not only is it respectful, but it also allows the adoptive parent to share their experience with you. There is no judgement or reason for them to get defensive.
I bet you’re crazy excited. Have you thought about names? Have you started shopping yet?
Just like all expecting parents, adoptive couples will be more than happy to share prospective names of their new son or daughter. That is, depending on the relationship they have with you. Talking about potential names helps them share in the excitement with you, and makes the reality of their child more alive.
The same goes with any shopping visits. Adoptive parents buying items for their adoptee in preparation will be just as exciting as it will be stressful. Be sure to support them through it all, and offer assistance in any way you feel comfortable. If you know anyone who has some of the items — church, other friends or family — who don’t need them anymore, feel free to check with those individuals before reaching out to the adoptive parents. Anything and everything will be a big help to them.
That said, this makes a perfect segway into our next point.
Are you fundraising? Do you need a crib/baby clothes/car seat?
Growing a family — biological or not — is expensive. Especially now-a-days. Just the list of very basics adds up fast. Offering an adoptive family options on raising money is a positive way to show encouragement and support for their decision. Every little bit counts, particularly when it comes to finances.
GoFundMe is a popular way to raise money. In as little as three steps, adoptive parents can set up an account and start sending out emails asking for donations. There’s even a place where they can tell a bit about their story, which helps friends and family know what’s going on and aids the response.
Know any friends or family who are planning on adopting? Be sure to show them your support and encouragement. Adopting is a big deal, and an exhilarating change for any family. Ask what you can do to help. Offer to bring a meal over. Be sincere and positive.
It will make their day.