Shot of an adorable little girl going for a walk with her parents on the beachAs the school year comes to a close, summer break waits in the wings ready to pop like a can of confetti. Our family enjoys nothing more than summertime adventures. We have been planning for months how we will fill this time with vacation, pool days, outdoor sports, trips to the park, church camp, holiday and birthday celebrations, BBQs and fire pits, our attitudes more relaxed and our time more free for making memories and enjoying one another.

This summer, along with all the experiences to look forward to, incorporating adoption plans can grow our minds and hearts, and how we spend some of our favorite times considering adoption plans will spotlight the importance of it to our family and friends. Try including one or more of the following ideas to make adoption part of your summer plans.

1. Visit an Adoption Camp

By doing a quick Google search or calling a local adoption agency in your area, you will find different options for summer camps that are themed around adoption. Some camps invite children affected by adoption, whether an adoptee, a sibling of an adoptee, or a birth sibling of an adopted child, to attend and join in community with other children who have similar backgrounds. Other camps may encourage the entire family to participate with team-building activities and special encouragement for their journey. Some camps are for only the day and others are week-long camps. Find what works for your family and what would be most beneficial for your children.

2. Connect with the Birth Family

If your family has an open or semi-open adoption where contact can be made between the adoptive family and the birth family, extend the olive branch and plan a time where the two families can spend some time together. If you are in close proximity to your child’s birth family, invite them to a picnic at the park and watch the children play while you build your relationship. Meet them at their favorite restaurant or offer to all go to a ball game. If you have to travel to see them, ask them what a fun activity in their city would be. When face-to-face contact isn’t available, have children send postcards from cities they may visit over the summer telling their birth parents about exciting times that were had or send letters and pictures detailing how your summer is unfolding.

3. Start a Journal or Book

When children have extra time in the summer and start getting bored, this is a great activity to set aside for them to work on little by little. They can start a journal where they write moments they would like to someday share with their birth family or jot down any questions that may come to mind about their birth family, their adoption story, or adoption in general. If they possess a little more creative bone, they can start constructing a book about their own adoption journey to be proud of the details in their story. This not only provides them an outlet to create and share, but it also keeps them academically challenged during their time away from school.

4. Read New Adoption Books

Whether you make a visit to the library or the local bookstore, find some new books that include adoptive stories or explain adoption processes for children and read these over the summer.

5. Make the Decision to Adopt

You may not have started your adoption journey yet or are just wondering if adoption is right for you. Take your time this summer to visit your local adoption agency, call an adoption professional, do your research about the adoption process in your state or internationally. Your summer will be made all the more exciting if your family chooses to embark on this journey together.

Jill is a 32-year-old wife and mom. She has been married to her husband, Brannon, for eight years and has 5-year-old and 1-year-old daughters. Jill and her husband are currently in the adoption process to bring another baby into their home. Jill lives in a small community in Kentucky. She has her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and Spanish and obtained her Master’s degree in Christian Ministries. Jill’s passions are her faith, her family, writing, playing sports, and eating good food.