Adoption is most definitely not an alternative, albeit inferior way, to build a family, something you turn to when natural birth is not possible. Act of Love Adoptions believes that adoption has its own brand of magic and wonder. No matter how a family is built – by birth, by adoption or a combination of both – the family is every bit a family because of the ties of love that bind them together. Adoption is A Act of Love that is to be celebrated so that the children who came through the family by adoption will learn to celebrate the miracle of how they all found each other.
Celebrating adoption can help to raise awareness among family members and friends. As people learn to see the gift of adoption, it can hopefully impact the community such that the community will embrace adoption as a beautiful way to build a family and remove the stigma that adoption still sometimes bears.
Here are some ways to celebrate adoption in your everyday routine and activities:
– Celebrate your child’s heritage. Read up on major holidays celebrated by your child’s culture. Plan activities around these holidays that involve the family. From time to time, go to a restaurant that serves the cuisine or, better yet, learn to cook popular dishes that feature a certain culture.
– Find a family or support group that your family can meet with on a regular basis. The support group will help to emphasize to your children that growing in your heart is just as important as growing in your tummy. It can also emphasis that there are many families created through adoption. As you gain more experience, you can also gear up to be a mentor to new adoptive families.
– Practice adoption-appropriate language at home. Encourage friends and loved ones to use adoption-appropriate language. With this, you don’t say, “my real child” or “my adopted child”. Rather, they are all your children. Their birthparent did not “give them away”; rather they made a choice for adoption.
– Read books and watch movies about adoption. Have your collection of bedtime books and movies that feature adoption and the issues that children may be faced with regarding adoption. You can also use the library and the internet to seek out resources. Exposure to multimedia covering the topic of adoption will help children process their own feelings and can springboard discussions about their experiences.
– Learn to give. Of your time and money. Volunteer for adoption-related activities in the community, especially those held during Adoption Celebration month. Set aside some money to donate to a local adoption organization. Involve your children in these endeavors.
– Show love in simple ways every day. Showing love can come in the form of a hug, a pat in the back or a moment where you snuggle on the couch. This can come in the form of notes that recount the many ways you appreciate your child (i.e. “I appreciate your joyful attitude.” “I love the way you worked hard to print your name.”, etc.)
Celebrating THE one special day
It is a bittersweet day. Bitter because the birthparent will finally relinquish and terminate their parental rights to the child and sweet because the sacrifice of love that is made for the child. It is a day when the family enthusiastically welcomes another beloved member with open arms. Act of Love Adoptions encourages families who adopted to mark this day as a red-letter day and a cause for celebration in the family. This is commonly called the Adoption Day.
Some suggestions include:
– Retelling the child’s adoption story. Trace back the events that led up to his being part of the family. Be sure to be age appropriate when telling the story. You can take out your adoption journal and scrapbook and pore over the pictures and journal entries together.
– Holding a party. It does not have to be grand or elaborate but it can feature elements (food, décor) from your child’s cultural heritage. You can share a home-cooked meal or go out to eat. You can also organize an activity that your child will enjoy, such as a day at the amusement park, skating rink, mini-golf course or the zoo.
– Giving your child a gift. This is a great way to remind your child that he himself is a gift to the family. Again, it does not have to be grand or expensive. It can be a memento or a token of how your child is loved and cherished.