1. Bring flowers – beauty heals.
2. Pray like crazy – she definitely needs it.
3. Meals and snacks and grocery runs never get old. The sheer willpower needed to get through the days right after your return home make the thought of feeding one’s entire family overwhelming. We are SO thankful for meals and groceries.
4. If you speak her new child’s language, come for a visit. Invite her and her child to your home. Play a game. Make a culturally friendly snack. Be Chinese family to this new child in your life. His mom will bless you forever.
5. Vacuum; yes, vacuum. She surely won’t get to it. Have mercy on the family. Dirt isn’t happy.
6. Say positive things, but listen to the negative things too. Tell her how handsome he is and then remind her how hard it must be. Both are so needed. We want to hear the best of our children but we also want you to know that “cute” wears off so fast when we are in the front lines of parenting kids who have grown without families.
7. Send a card, a gift, or some American money to the new child. The first days are so difficult for them. Help make their memories beautiful ones. Money is amazing in every culture and every language.
8. Invite her out for a girls night. Drink margaritas. Laugh a lot. Ask only a few questions about her new child. Don’t be surprised if she cries a lot anyway. Remind her who she is.
9. Do something nice for her other kids and her husband. Ask him out for a beer, bring a dinner one of the kids loves, send gift cards to the bookstore for special “mom dates” for the other kids. Adoption is super hard on everyone in the family. They will feel so loved and supported by the littlest of things.
10. Hold faith. Believe with all of your heart that this family has what it takes to make this new child whole, well and happy. Love them, speak this truth to them, and partner in making it happen. It takes a village to raise a child; an older adopted child requires an incredible village. Be that.
*I share this list because my incredible community has taught me so much about what love looks like through this process. They have made our family’s health and joy possible. Thank you.