How Dinner Elf Helped One Adoptive Family
In 2010, we adopted a beautiful baby boy from Ethiopia. As a second-time parent, I felt prepared to add another little person to our family but I also knew it would be different with a baby that we didn’t bring home as a newborn.
Think back to that first time you left your baby with a sitter for the night, or with grandma for a overnight getaway. If you are like me, you left them with a thick binder of instructions on feeding and nap schedules, likes and dislikes, comforting tips (and a big old piece of your heart) every time you walked out the door. That binder came from you knowing your baby best.
You don’t get the binder when you adopt a child. In our case, we were handed a handsome and opinionated 9-month-old who stared at us with big eyes. A few days later, we were on a plane ride halfway across the world to his new home. He didn’t know who we were, even though we’d waited and prayed for him for years. All of the books told us to “cocoon” with him: to not let anyone hold him or feed him or change his diaper until he knew were were his mom and dad.
It can be hard for extended family and close friends to understand an adoptive family’s need to be alone and bond in those early months. There is no handing off the baby for a snuggle with a grandparent, or having a friend come by to play with the baby while you grab a shower or a nap. It’s a special but isolating time, and a lot of loved ones aren’t sure how to help.
This is Jen. She and her husband brought home two little girls from Ethiopia last summer. While Jen had lots of in-town family to make and take over meals via a Meal Train calendar, she also had friends, neighbors and co-workers who wanted to help. Jen’s sister set up a Dinner Elf meal page for them as a less intrusive way to send some love without bringing too many new faces by the house as the girls settled in. Now, after nearly a year as a family of four, we checked in with Jen about her Dinner Elf experience:
How was Dinner Elf a help after your son was born?
Dinner Elf was a huge help once we became a family. Once our Meal Train ended, it was so great to have several weeks worth of Dinner Elf appointments saved up. The chef would come in and do his or her thing while we continued to learn to be a family. It allowed for more time to focus on my new role and not have to worry about cooking meals. Not to mention they were delicious and the girls loved them too!
This group gift allowed a more casual way for many more to show their care for us – whether it was out of town friends who would have loved to bring a meal and just weren’t close enough to, or co-workers and people who wanted to help but were more acquaintances and didn’t want to intrude by stopping by.
How did you like the gift of meals versus typical baby gifts?
The tangible items were so a huge blessing and needed, as these were our first children. But, once Luke got back to work, Dinner Elf was the gift that kept on giving and allowed us to focus on the cocooning and connection once daddy got home from work.
Where do you think a Dinner Elf meal page would be a help to someone?
I think with a growing family, big life changes, sickness Dinner Elf could be beneficial. The elves were all very professional and quick and cleaned up well, you truly wouldn’t know they were there!