When a family makes a decision to adopt a child, they are usually filled with excitement and anticipation. Typically when we are excited about an impending event, we can’t wait to share it with family and friends. This isn’t always the case with an announcement of an adoption decision, however.
Prospective adoptive parents often question whether they will receive the support and affirmation that they need from their friends and families. Typically, these parents have thought long and hard about their decision. They have prayed about it for months and maybe even years. They have full researched their options.
We announced our adoption decision very late in the process. We had already completed our homestudy and application and were waiting for a referral. We had discussed our plans with our children, but had asked them not to share it with anyone. In fact, we would have waited to announce our decision until our referral was in hand except for an errant e-mail. An e-mail discussing adoption was sent to our son, but forwarded to his grandma, blowing our cover.
We had several reasons for waiting such a long time. We worried that people would question our decision and we didn’t want our children to fend off questions from others.
When we did announce our decision we faced many of the questions we had feared. In our case, it helped that we had done our research; we were able to share that we had prayed over this decision and we were firmly resolved to move forward; we were knowledgeable about the process, and comfortable with the uncertainties. We were able to explain our adoption decision well because we had been thinking about it for so long.
In addition to telling our families, we prepared some materials that helped explain our decision and we started a blog to allow others access to our journey.
The decision to wait worked out well for us. but it did have its drawbacks. One drawback is we didn’t have the support of our families through the education and the homestudy process. We didn’t get to rejoice out loud at each small step in the process. The biggest drawback was one we hadn’t anticipated. We didn’t realize our families might need some time to think about our decision and to adjust to how our decision would affect them. We sprung the decision upon them without even the illusion of asking for input. It must have felt as if we thought we couldn’t trust them to pray with us and walk with us on the journey. It must have felt like an insult that we hadn’t asked them to journey with us toward our new family members.
This decision is so personal. It is one that is often discussed at gatherings of adoptive parents. If you are so inclined, weigh in on how you feel about this. If you are adopting, when did you tell your family? If you are thinking about it, when are you planning to tell your family? If you are a family member of adoptive parents, how do you feel about this issue? Post a comment and add to the discussion.