Adopting a child can be a highly rewarding parenting experience. It can also be a hard and sometimes lonely road. Families who are called to adopt—whether domestically or internationally—face a variety of challenges that come with bringing a new family member (or members) into the home.
Even if you aren’t called to adopt, you can play an important role by coming alongside an adoptive family in your church or community. It’s important to remember these families’ needs and dynamics are unique, as the adoption process most often brings emotionally wounded children into a new home environment. Healing for a hurting child doesn’t happen overnight, and there’s no script for success: Each adoptive family will struggle in different ways, and their family will likely look different from yours and your understanding of parenting.
Yet, your tangible support will bring encouragement and hope to the child and his or her parents.
There are four key ways you and your family can “WRAP” around orphans and adoptive families:
W Wrestle in Prayer
R Respite Care
A Acts of Service
P Promises of God
Wrestle in Prayer: Recognize that along with the God-honoring step to bring an abused or wounded child into a family comes spiritual resistance and even attack from the enemy. Rescuing orphans involves spiritual warfare, and adoptive families need your prayer support.
Respite Care: For adoptive parents who struggle with challenging children, respite care is crucial to the family’s well-being. Times of respite allow parents to focus on their marriage, take time to regroup, and enjoy much-needed peace, quiet and rest. Adoption respite is best provided after the child has been in the home for at least four months, and provided by adults who have taken time to get to know the child and spent time with the family.
Acts of Service: Offering tangible acts of service specifically designed to meet the needs of the family are most effective. The best acts of service do not require the family’s planning or involvement—it’s simply service to them. This can include making meals, running errands, shopping or doing yard work for them.
Promises of God: Providing encouragement with God’s Word through notes, calls or e-mails can be a powerful source of comfort and strength for families. Hope-filled words combined with listening ears, understanding hearts, kindness and mercy will deeply resonate.
For More Information:
Adapted from Wrapping Around Adoptive Families, available online at http://bit.ly/cz-adopt
Originally published in the November 2016 issue of Citizen magazine.