Celebrate the Adoption Process in Community

adoptive family holding hands

A child in need of love and a home. A potential parent with love to give and a home to share. This could be any adopted child’s story. But it’s yours.

If you have placed your faith in Jesus Christ, then you have been adopted into the family of God (Rom. 8:14–17; 22–23; Gal. 4:1–7; Eph. 1:3–6). God loves you so much that He gave His only begotten Son, Jesus, so that you might have eternal life with Him (John 3:16). You probably see this picture of adoption being replicated in the lives of people in your community, church, and family. Or even in your home.

During Adoption Awareness Month in November, lead your church to celebrate adoption and support local families who are in the midst of adoption with the following event plan:

Before the Event

Prepare:

  • Choose a date that is convenient for the majority of adoptive families to attend. Plan the event around a specific mealtime and allow 2 to 3 hours, depending on the speaker and silent auction.
  • Select a venue, preferably at your church, with a large meeting area and kitchen.
  • Arrange for child care for children under 5.
  • Assign each part of the meal to a specific continent (e.g., appetizers—Asia, soup/salad—North America, entrée—Africa, bread—South America, dessert—Europe).
  • Enlist adoptive families and church members to help provide food for the meal. Print and distribute recipes for people who need ideas.
  • Be especially considerate of food allergies and aversions, as some adopted children struggle in this area during the first few years they are in the United States.
  • Encourage food preparers to print the recipe on a card to be placed in front of the food.
  • Invite families who have already adopted, people from different cultures, or mission trip participants to bring items from their travels that will enhance the setting.
  • Secure tablecloths, silverware, serving dishes, plates, glasses, etc. to use for the occasion.
  • Ask an adoptive family (or 2) to speak at the event and share its heart about adoption.
  • Consider preparing a video with families who have already adopted or are in the midst of adoption in which they share their journeys.
  • Enlist community and church members to bring silent auction items to be used to gain support for adoptive families. Enlist a church member to lead in this, and allow him or her to set up the area for this aspect of the event.
  • Think about having a specific item people can collect to bring to the event that will be sent to an orphanage (e.g., stuffed animals, toothbrushes, washcloths, books, etc.).

Promote:

  • Use portions of a video (made using adoptive families in the church) each week to promote the event during the Sunday morning worship service.
  • Prepare a flyer or postcard to distribute to local schools, restaurants, adoption agencies, child-care facilities, etc. Many adoptive families feel alone during the process, and you may find some through community outreach.
  • Print posters with pictures of adoptive families or former orphans and all the details of the event. Hang these around town to get as much exposure as possible.

Set the Scene:

  • Secure round tables, if possible, to promote more conversations and a family atmosphere.
  • Decorate the main food line with objects from various countries borrowed from world travelers, former missionaries, mission trip participants, and adoptive families. Use smaller decorations as centerpieces on the tables (small country flags, trinkets, table runners, or postcards).
  • Consider putting information cards about each current adoptive family in your church on the tables. Give information about the family, the details of its adoption (as permissible), and specific prayer requests.
  • Use a local photo or print shop to enlarge pictures of various adopted children as well as children in the adoption process (or their families if that is not possible). Hang or place these photos on easels all around the room.
  • Set the silent auction items on display using bold colors and decorations that will draw people to the area.

During the Event

  • Ensure each person gets a name tag so people can call one another by name. If a family is adopting, consider a different color tag or a special note that reads “Adopting from ____” to show its specific country.
  • Allow the guest speaker/speakers and adoptive families (especially the ones who are just home or have young children) to go through the food line first.
  • Consider having a small area for children to play if they are unable to go into a child-care situation.
  • Use music from various countries to play in the background while people are eating.
  • Introduce all the adoptive families, and invite them to say a few words about where they have adopted from or where they are in the process. If you have prepared a video, then use it now.
  • Welcome the prearranged adoptive family/families to speak about adoption. If time allows after the presentation, grant 5 minutes for questions from the audience.
  • Establish and communicate the process by which people can bid on and win silent auction items. Be sure to clearly designate a cutoff time.
  • Allow donors to award the silent auction items if desired.
  • Play special music that focuses on adoption (Steven Curtis Chapman, Mandi Mapes, etc.).

After the Event

  • Write thank-you notes or send individual emails to everyone who helped make the event a success.
  • Send an encouragement card to each adoptive family involved, and pray for it by name.
  • Publish a short summary on your church’s website or Facebook page or in your church bulletin, telling people how much support you gained or still need.
  • Start an adoption fund for your church members.
  • Set up an adoption mentorship program that pairs prospective adoptive families with families who have already adopted.

Adaptations

  • Instead of dinner, use breakfast as a time to gather. A Saturday morning can be a great time to host this event.
  • Focus on a specific continent instead of various ones in the meal preparation. (For example, if 3 families from your church are adopting from Asia, consider using that as your main focus.)
  • Select a panel of families who have adopted to host your event or participate.
  • Ask families who have adopted to share the most meaningful gift/thought/action they received during their journey.
  • Allow the adopted children to sing a special song or participate in the event in some way.
  • Invite the pastor to briefly share his heart on adoption and what the Bible says about orphans.
  • Focus the event on “why to adopt” and “how to adopt or foster” for families interested in the process. Host it on Orphan Sunday, which is November 11 this year.
  • Use this event as a time to pray for families or future families God will bring together.
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