This year on August 5, we will be celebrating those people who do not share our DNA but the friends who are like family on Friendship Day. This holiday boasts of the ones with whom we go through life. In ups and downs, we are not alone because of those friends who commit to standing alongside us. In the adoption community, adoptive families and birth families alike need friends as they navigate through the process. Friends can explore ways to support the ones around them who have chosen adoption.

How Friends Can Support Birth Parents

Friends of those brave birth parents who have chosen adoption for their child will play a crucial role in the healing process after the birth of the baby. A birth mother will need emotional support as well as reassurance in the days following the birth of her baby. Prospective birth parents need emotional support during the adoption process, too — friends can play a vital role when a woman needs advice, a shoulder to cry on or just someone to listen while she makes her adoption plan.

Forming a relationship with someone who has gone down the same road before may also offer some comfort when she needs it; at American Adoptions, birth parents and women considering adoption can always reach out to Michelle, a birth mother and adoption counselor who has been in their shoes. A birth mom can also propose a friendship with her child’s adoptive mother to have a connection throughout the adoption process and her child’s life. In her future, a birth mom may need support during visits with her child. Her friends will be the ones who abide in the emotions with her.

How Friends Can Support Adoptive Parents

For potential adoptive parents, there are several things a friend can do along the way. Adoptive parents will be in need of encouragement no matter what stage they are in. In the beginning, friends just need to listen to anxieties, fears, excitement, and sometimes times of impatience as the potential adoptive parents jump into something unknown. Just being there validating those feelings encourages potential adoptive parents to continue in strength. This support will be vital even after they bring the baby home.

Your potential adoptive parents may also need financial assistance as they plan for the adoption. Friends could offer to help have a fundraiser. There are so many ideas that could potentially help with the costs of an adoption. The adoptive parents will also need all the baby gear when they bring their little one home. If friends would rather help throw a baby shower once the family is comfortable with the idea, this would help gather all the necessities for the baby and family.

It is also important to have those friends who have experienced adoption before and can help you navigate along the path. These relationships will be invaluable to you when other friends cannot fully grasp the experience of adoption and how it changes your life.

No matter what side of adoption you find yourself connected to, there is a community of friends to celebrate this day. And those friends who share our feelings, who cry with us on the sad days, who are overjoyed with us on the exciting days, and who wait with us during the times when our patience runs dry, should know how this journey would not be the same without them by our side.