If you didn't catch the last post on what NOT to say to an adoptive family, well, you should go read it, especially if you know a friend or family member that is going through the adoption process. It's three parts educational and one part plain hilarious. All that to say: don't be that person!
But enough about what NOT to say. There's plenty of wrong things to say. If you're wondering what we most want to hear, well, here's four things to say that will be welcomed by a foster/adoptive parent.
What beautiful children you have! Don't focus on whether our children look like us or not, the fact is our children are beautiful to us, so reaffirm that fact to us. Even if our children are being heathens in that moment.
What can I do to serve your family in this transition? One of the best things that ever happened to our family was a two week meal train set up for those first few days after our kids were home. Not only did a friend take the time to set us up, she also made sure to note our family's allergies so we wouldn't be getting foods we couldn't eat. Bringing older kids home is a lot like bringing a newborn home. They suck the life out of you that first month or more.
What parts of this process are you most looking forward to? Trust me when I say, we know this whole thing is going to be hard. You don't need to remind us that these kids are going to bring some major baggage masquerading as behavioral problems into our family. We already know that. Instead of talking about how hard this is going to be, let us gush about all the parts we're looking forward to! Even if we do get a little bit naive and start imagining this perfect scenario. You've made us sit around and gush about how many teeth your kid is cutting, so let us imagine our perfect impending families with just as much patience we gave you.
You are so lucky to have these wonderful kids. Here's the thing most people don't realize: we are not our child's saviors. We are not awesome people. We yell just as much as you, our house is just as messy as yours, and we definitely don't have our act together. We would never say our kids are lucky to have us because we're not their saviors and half the time we're winging this whole parenting thing so much we doubt our own selves. But one thing is for sure with any foster/adoptive family you're going to come into contact with--we are absolutely the lucky ones here. Foster care is so very hard, but at the end of the day, these children bring so much joy and wholeness to our lives.
What about you? What's the best thing that's been said to you?
Caitlin is the founder and creator of Respite Redefined. She is a wife and mother of two daughters through adoption from foster care. Caitlin loves to read, to write, and to dream of the places she'll go and the sights she'll see and the new kids she'll one day meet.