All across the world, people are impacted by domestic and international adoption. There is probably at least one person in your life who has adopted a child, placed a child for adoption, or has an adopted family member. We do not always realize it, but it happens all around us. Without adoption, whether that be domestic or international, children all over the world would grow up without families, without the support and love of people who can guide and help them reach their fullest potential. Worldwide there is an orphan crisis that has increased over the years. This is due to several factors such as natural disasters, civil unrest, and restricting laws and policies on adoption and immigration. When news is shared on these topics it begs the question for many people, should I adopt? Could I provide a loving and nurturing home to a child in need?
Being in a position that assists families in international adoption, I feel a great privilege to be on this journey with several families. However, that means I’m working with the people who answer yes to the questions above. What about the families or people whose answers are no? Where does that leave them when they still have a burden on their hearts for orphans, but feel they are not able to bring a child permanently into their home? There are several great ways that people can contribute to helping orphans find their forever families. One simple task is by donating money to support an adoption. International adoption is expensive and if you have the means to help lighten that load, even a small donation, families are forever grateful because you’ve played a part in their child(ren) coming home. If you don’t have a specific family you know that is adopting, check out Adoption Bridge. This is a fantastic site where you can see profiles of waiting children and profiles of adoptive families and donate to their adoption. Non-profit adoption agencies also accept donations and you may request how these funds are to be used.
Another great way to support international adoption is by advocating and educating those around you. Anytime someone asks me what I do for a living, I have the opportunity to advocate for orphans and the importance of finding children in need forever families. More often than not, I get asked a lot of great questions which allows me to inform and educate people on the process of international adoption and the reality of the lives of these children in crisis. Just recently, I was able to travel to Sweden and had this exact situation happen to me. Even thousands of miles away from my home, I was able to advocate for orphans and inform a man who had some misguided information on international adoption. It was such a great conversation and helped him better understand why it is necessary.
There are many more ways to contribute to international adoption, but the final one I will mention is being part of a support system for an adoptive family. If you know a friend or family near you that has adopted, know that no matter how well it may seem they are doing, they need a great support system. That can look different for every family. It may mean offering to bring a meal over once a week or once a month, babysitting so the parents can have one night off to relax a little, taking the time to talk, or more importantly listen, to them if they need to work through stress that they are dealing with at home. All of these things can tremendously help an adoptive family, especially right after they have brought their child home. As the common phrase says, “It takes a village to raise a child,”. Allow yourself to be a part of that village and help an adoptive family who needs support in the everyday tasks of life. Parenting an adopted child is not easy, but a great support system makes it easier.