I hear from people, mostly women, “I always wanted to adopt but it was just never the right time,” or “I always wanted to adopt but my husband didn’t want to,” or “I always wanted to adopt but it’s too late now.”

Can I share a couple thoughts with you? It’s never the perfect time for any family to disrupt their lives, make huge changes, take on a plethora of unknowns, and bring a child into their home. You either decide to do it or you don’t. Only you can decide if you think it’s something you can handle, but to say, “It was never the right time” is not really a fair statement. If you are considering adoption, get over the notion that there will be a perfect time…there won’t be. If you want to adopt but have decided you can’t…that’s ok too. There are still ways you can help orphans. Read on and I will give you a few ideas.

The other thing I hear a lot is about these men we all love and adore. If they would just get on board, you would adopt. Trust me, I get it. My husband was not interested in adopting and said no for 17 years. Through some friendships with other adoptive families, getting to know other adoptive dads and learning from them, he realized he absolutely could love another child. That was his fear, and of course he was worried about the finances.

If I’m being honest, it was easy for me as long as he kept saying no. I got to look like the good-hearted momma and he was just stone cold, not interested in giving a child a family. Then, after many years of saying no, he finally said YES! That is when the real work began. Of course I’m grateful he came to the conclusion that we could and should adopt, but it also required me to put my money where my mouth was. I had to step up. I could no longer just talk about it, I had to actually do the work. If you truly feel called to adopt, don’t give up. Keep praying, keep learning, keep discussing it with your spouse. I’ll be honest, I could have twisted my husband’s arm and he would have given in, but then we wouldn’t have our daughter Carson. I know God had his hand on this decision and we came to it in the perfect time. I jokingly say, “Be careful what you wish for because you just might get it!” I’m crazy thankful I didn’t give up!

For those who feel like their time has passed…I’d love to say, “It’s never too late,” but unfortunately, there are guidelines that can make the age of the parents a factor in the ability to adopt. Maybe you wish you would have adopted but for whatever legitimate reason, you didn’t and now it’s too late. If you fall in this category, don’t beat yourself up. There’s a reason it didn’t come to fruition and that reason might be right in front of you. If you look around, you will see other families who are fostering or in the process of adopting, or perhaps they’ve brought their little one home. If you want to make a difference for a child, support those families. It’s not easy to go through the adoption process. Finances aside, it’s very emotional and it can be exhausting.

Here are some practical ways you can help:

Donate to their adoption fund. Even if you think they can afford it, help them. $50, $100…anything. Every little bit helps.

Deliver a meal to their door. Notice I said door…when they first get home, they aren’t ready for company. Please respect that. They aren’t being crazy, they are trying to bond and adjust to this new life.

Offer to help with carpool or play dates for their other children. It can be stressful on the other kids. Giving them a little break and some attention focused on them is a huge help.

Offer to mow the lawn, pick up groceries, take the other children to church. Whatever you are doing with your kids or for your family, think how you might do that for another family.

If you bring a gift for the new child, bring something small for the other kids, especially if they are young or close in age.

Show a lot of grace towards this family. Imagine today a new family member was placed in your home. Can you imagine what it takes to learn a new person and acclimate them to your family dynamics?

I know not everyone can adopt, nor should they, but there are definitely ways you can make a difference in the life of an orphan. The key is to start now!

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