When it comes to marriage, we spend so much time getting ready for the wedding that we don’t always do the hard work of preparing for the marriage itself.
Adoption can be like that. We’re so busy raising money and getting rooms ready that all of a sudden we wake up one day and there are new children in our home and we’re not sure what to do.
I believe preparing the best that you can, (knowing that there’s really no way to be totally prepared) is essential. The goal of being prepared helped my family when we adopted. We did all the required counseling sessions … and more. We read all of the required books … and more. Some of it worked, some of it didn’t. Some of it we had to find our own way. But we felt prepared.
The best advice
If there’s one piece of practical advice I can give you it’s this: Clear your schedules.
It’s OK to find somebody else to lead the small group. And if you can take time off work, take as much as you can. (And then take your vacation weeks on top of that!) Bottom line: Clear your lives. The people in our lives were gracious to allow us to take a step back. We didn’t have to serve in the nursery and to lead our Bible study and to be involved in church activities. We had our kids take some time off of their soccer teams and all those things that consume our time as a family.
Basically, we cleared our lives and our schedules for a while after our children came home, and looking back, I would do it again in a heartbeat. When we came home, it really was refreshing.
We joke that we really should clear the schedule every couple of years because we re-calibrated our lives. We determined what was important to us as a family. It gave us time to bond–just to be a family.
When I notified people that I wouldn’t be doing certain things for a while, I also didn’t commit to when I would be back. So we had the space, then, to re-introduce soccer practice, small group, and all of those things as we became ready.
And to be honest, most of them we decided really were distractions from what was important to us anyway. And they’re not back at all.
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