If you know someone who has recently adopted and wonder how you can help, here are a few ideas/suggestions...
* Provide meals for the family, just as you would for a family with a newborn. Those first few weeks home are a HUGE time of adjustment.
* Offer to help with grocery shopping or other necessities, possibly even stocking their kitchen in time for them to return home.
* Help with things around the house--cutting the grass, cleaning, laundry...whatever they need done.
* Remember to give the baby/child time to bond to his/her new family. For attachment and bonding purposes, it is better for the parents to do most, and sometimes all of the holding of the baby for awhile. If you do hold the baby, hand him/her back to one of the parents, not to someone else.
* Remember that some things just work differently for babies who have been adopted. There may be institutional delays that cause the child to act younger than his/her actual age. You may see an older baby or toddler with a bottle instead of a sippy cup. You may see a baby sleeping in the bed with the parents. You may see a mom sitting in the church nursery with her toddler. These are things that need to happen to help overcome delays and to promote attachment. Just try to be understanding.
This is by no means an exhaustive list, but just hits the big highlights. Does anyone have any suggestions to add to the list?