I want to learn how to be supportive of adoptive families.  What would adoptive families like me to know?
Conquered by Love
Razvi Family Ministries

...in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.
(Romans 8:37)




Language



These are important phrases and if you can learn them, you will bless the adoptive families that you know and come in contact with.  The reason that they are important is because they emphasize the importance of the adopted child and his or her relationship to the family.  Questions that we, as adoptive families, are often asked cause emotional pain and insecurity in our adopted children.   

When people, seeing that we have birth children and adopted children, ask, “Which ones are yours and which ones are adopted?”  our adopted children feel that they are being called second class citizens in the family since they were not included in  ‘which ones are yours.’   This may seem a trivial difference to someone who is not familiar with adoption, but it is significant to an adopted child.  

When people ask, “Where did you get this child from?” or “Where did you come from, honey?”  They may simply be trying to be conversational, or they may be letting nosiness get the better of them.  Well intentioned or not, the questions feel like the child is being talked about like a stray dog that has been picked up somewhere.  When, in fact, God carefully orchestrated the placing of the child in his adoptive family, and blessed that family in so doing.  So instead of prying about history, simply talk to the child about the same types of things that you would talk about with any other child you know.  Adopted children don’t want to be treated differently than birth children in a family.  They want to be treated as a child of their parents.

Your kindness and care in taking time to learn the language of adoptive families will be a significant blessing to the family.

Privacy

If a child would like to share about his/her birth story of his/her own accord without you asking, simply listen, hug, or cry with him/her.  Do not pry; let him/her share only what he/she wishes to share.  Do not ever talk badly about his birth family.  Nor, on the other hand, is it right to prevent the child from grieving over his/her loss.  
Adopted children are special human beings just like all the other children that you know.  Particularly in the first several years after an adoption, the child needs time to heal and bond with the new family.   Until this healing has taken place, discussion of private history is very painful.  Allow the child to maintain the privacy of his/her story.  He/she may eventually share things with close friends and relatives or he/she may not.  That is a right the child has.  

Practical Help

Offering practical help to a family who has just brought home their adopted child (especially through the first year) will bless them significantly.  They may be too tired and too focused on their child’s minute-by-minute needs to think to ask for help, but they will appreciate it.

Do Not Judge

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...in all these things we are 
more than conquerors through him that loved us.
(Romans 8:37)