If you're new to this whole foster-adopt journey, and maybe you're the only family in your church / community / tribe that is going through this, sometimes it's hard knowing you're all alone and your people aren't giving you the encouragement and support you need, even if they are trying. Here's a little tip: ASK FOR HELP! Sometimes people around you just really don't know what kind of help you need, so don't be afraid to ask someone to do your laundry, cook you a meal, babysit your kids so you can take a shower, or make a run to pick up some extra undies.
Or maybe you're watching your friend get pulled into this all-consuming trainwreck that can be foster care, and you just feel a little helpless and not sure how to help out.
We asked our followers on Instagram what has been the best encouragement they've received so far and here's what they said. Hopefully, no matter what role you're playing, you'll be able to glean some insight into how to encourage a new adoptive family.
"The greatest encouragement I think I've received is prayer! Especially the ones that come in text or private messages. I love those! With each new placement that we get, people are SO generous. We've received gift cards, free clothes, and diapers." --Amanda
"Meeting & gathering with other foster families in my area has been the biggest source of encouragement for me! We are going on our 3rd year of holding a Created for Care retreat for foster / adoptive moms and it's my favorite weekend of the year! We also take turns hosting a mom's night out every 2-3 months." --Kelly
"The best gift we have ever received is our family's willingness to love The Babe like he's with us forever. Their willingness to get 'too attached.'" --Erin
"I'd say my family's overwhelming support. They threw me a surprise baby and toddler shower when we got our first placements and they just bless and love each child that comes into our home. Words cannot express when family treats my foster kids like FAMILY. It's so encouraging and such a blessing." --Annie
"We had a 2 week long meal train for us. And people were so good about dropping it off at the door and not coming inside. That saved me because food was the last thing on my mind those first few days." --Caitlin F.
"When our 3 were just a few days into our home we were at church playing outside and our middle child had a big fit and breakdown, lots of screaming, stomping and crying. Later in the day a lady made a comment to me. Not about his behavior, not "Wow do you have to deal with this all the time?" not "That looks really hard" not "I don't know how you do it" (because I don't either). She said: "You handled that beautifully". I didn't do anything amazing or noteworthy, but she allowed his behavior to simply be, not belittling him, and encouraged me simply and quietly in the midst of my storm." --Mackenzie"
"One of my sweet friends came to my house with a candy bar and flowers the day before our foster daughter left us because she said she knew it was going to be hard on us all. It was really really thoughtful and sweet. I also have another awesome friend who I can text (or snapchat) night or day and she never judges me. It's nice being able to talk about the good and the bad with a trusted friend knowing that they're not going to hold it against you, but rather will lift you up in prayer and encourage you. Or sympathize and joke with you until you're feeling better 😅 Our family has been awesome too, about loving the kids that come through. They always treat them so special and bring them treats and clothes and lots of love." --Candace
"The greatest encouragement has been our families. All of our grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, parents, and siblings have fully embraced our kids - giving them gifts, baby sitting them, and loving them just like they would love any biological kids we might have. When we first began the process of becoming foster parents we weren't sure we'd have the full support of our families. it's been so cool and so encouraging to see our worries disproved over and over again." --Grace
"I have a biological daughter and she was not even 13 months when we got a newborn placement. My husband is a first responder and works 24 hr shifts. It is safe to say that I was in over my head. Twice a week when my hubby works, my aunt comes over to my house and helps me with dinner time and bedtime. That is such a gift to me." --Suzanne
"Encouragement-- a family from our church who cleaned my house two weeks in to a placement-- that 2 week mark is brutal! Also, friends who comment on how well my foster son is doing, how much progress he has made, and who see and can acknowledge BOTH our struggles with him AND what an awesome, special kid he is." --Caitlin B.
What has been the best encouragement and support you've been given? Add to the list in the comments below!