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Making a Life-Giving Impact: Walking Beside Families Who Adopt

Magnolia Market at the Silos in Waco Texas

As of this week we have officially been home for 6 months!

It's hard to believe it.

In many ways it has been a long and short 6 months.

We've celebrated encouraging growth and development. We've worked through frustrating days of temper tantrums.

We've bonded as a family. We've taken weekend trips together and with family and with friends.

We've cheered at countless baseball and soccer games and spent hours at the gym.

We've celebrated holidays and birthdays.

And now here we are - knocking on the door of Thanksgiving and Christmas.

So much has happened since we got home and so much has changed in our lives.

Sometimes that's exciting.

Sometimes that's hard.

It's been a journey. And we're still on it.

We're thankful for the support we've had.

For our family and friends.

For our church.

For our school.

And as funny as it may sound, our gymnastics coach.

There are no words to express just how much adoptive families need a good support system.

There are a lot of unseen hardships that adoptive families work through every day.

And having people walking beside you in the journey makes a big difference.

That should be a given.

But all too often, it's not.

Maybe you have someone in your life who has adopted a child, and you want to walk beside them, but you just don't know what to do.

Here are a few things we are thankful for:

1. People Praying with and/or for us.

It might seem obvious, but this simple step makes a big difference. We need friends and family who are willing to listen to what we are experiencing and intercede on our behalf. It's really encouraging to know we have people in our lives who we can tell the hard things to, and they will faithfully carry that burden with us. It's also really encouraging to know we have people who intentionally take time to remember us and pray for us. We have one friend who told us she set an alarm on her phone to go off every day at 10am so she could take a few minutes every day to pray for us. We have family and friends who have sat across from us listening as we held back tears sharing our hearts and then covered us in prayer. We have friends on group texts and individual threads praying with us and checking with us for updates. We have friends who pray for us who stay updated through our parents and other friends. Walking the journey with an adoptive family in prayer can look a lot of different ways - it doesn't matter how you do it. The fact that you do it is an encouragement.

2. The Opportunity to Enjoy Date Nights

We need date nights. Time to connect. Time to process. Time to laugh. It's not something you hear about often, but it is something we ourselves experienced and adoptive couples we have talked to have experienced as well. The adoption process is intense and all-consuming and that has the ability to bring strength and unity to a marriage like nothing else. In the moment, it feels like that's the hard part. And in truth, it is. But the hard part is actually having experienced that and now living the day-to-day life after the adoption is complete. It's easy to take on something when you have a partner. But when you feel alone, those hard days are harder. It's been so valuable to have regular date nights. Having family and friends who invest in us, our marriage, and our family by giving us the opportunity to enjoy date nights, is so life-giving. For some that means, coming to our house to watch our kids. For others that means, joining us for double or group dates. And for others that means giving gift cards to go out. We are thankful for all the ways that people have invested in us by giving us the opportunity to enjoy date nights.

3. Friends who Gather

That might seem like an odd thing to say but in today's digital world full of busy schedules, this means something. As we have walked this path for the past 6 months, we are so grateful for the friendships that have deepened or started developing. One couple reached out to us: "I know y'all are kind of in the thick of it right now and we just want you guys to know you aren't alone. We would love to get together with y'all every week or two. We could come over after the kids go to bed so we can just talk." And they followed through on it. Other friends have fostered friendships by inviting us and other families on weekend trips together filled with laughter and plenty of food. Families have gathered at our house for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and movie nights. Having friends who are intentional about getting together in person is so life-giving. Even if it's just once. The fact that you chose to gather is valuable and appreciated.

4. Moments of Respite and Encouragement

Bringing home an adopted child is a big change in family dynamics. We have been thankful for the opportunities that family and friends have given for us to have moments of respite and encouragement. It can look like a lot of different things. Sometimes it's a family member showing up to the soccer or baseball game and taking our younger son on a walk when he gets bored and fussy so that we can watch our older son's game. Sometimes it is a friend picking up our older son from school. Sometimes it's a random text, call, or conversation that says: "You are doing a great job! We love you! We are here with you!". It might seem like a simple thing to you, but it's the small things that make a big impact in the day to day.

You might be reading this and thinking: "Every family would benefit from these things!". And you would be right.

Every family would benefit from these things.

But I can tell you this first-hand:

When a family willingly and intentionally chooses to adopt, they also willingly and intentionally choose to carry the hurt and the brokenness of a child.

And it makes a life-giving impact when family and friends willingly and intentionally choose to walk beside us.

So, thank you- we are truly grateful for you and the blessing you are in our lives.

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