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How did you tell your friends and family?
Posted: 13 January 2010 06:51 PM   Ignore ]  
Total Posts:  8
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My husband and I are considering adoption.  We’re in our 30s with no bio kids (never tried), our parents live in other states and his siblings with children also live elsewhere (and none of them live in the same state, so there’s no time when everyone’s in one place).  I can’t seem to imagine calling my mom on the phone and telling her “hey mom, how’s the weather?  Really, that’s great.  By the way, we just started the process to become adoptive parents.  And we’re adopting an older child, not a baby.  So, how’s work”  You know?  And then there’s co workers and friends..I’ve never been a particularly outspoken let me tell you all about my whole life kind of person and find the whole telling the world thing a little intimidating.  I have read the homesteady includes letters from friends and family, so obviously we will need to tell people while we are in that stage (I’d rather wait for some until we have a potential match, partly just to avoid the questions if it’s a while before there is a match).

I mean, there’s so many fun ways to announce a pregnancy, like “worlds best grandparent” shirts as gifts and such.  Anyone have any great ones for prosective adoptive parents that wouldn’t lead to people automatically assuming there’s a pregnancy?

Posted: 14 January 2010 01:34 PM   Ignore ]  
Total Posts:  6
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My wife and I decided to delay telling people about our adoption until we had a referral.  We asked 3 friends to write letters of reference and asked them not to tell anyone our news until we were ready.  We told our parents and siblings, but also asked them not to share our news until we were ready.  Unfortunetly, my parents didn’t respect our request not to tell people.  We told them in August and by the time of my sister’s wedding in September even out-of-state relatives who came to the wedding knew at least a little about our news.  We finally announced our adoption at Christmas and everyone seemed happy.

Posted: 14 January 2010 05:02 PM   Ignore ]  
Total Posts:  31
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I guess I am a bit of a ‘get it all out there’ kind of person, and most of my husband’s family most certainly are, so we did tell everyone (well, close friends and family…not co-workers or neighbors). Of course our infertility was not exactly a secret either, so I think many of our friends and family expected that we would pursue adoption and were in a way relieved that they could help us work towards something that would bring us happiness instead of repeated frustration.

In actuality these same individuals sometimes hindered as much as helped. It was not intentional, of course, but the process and reality of adoption was new to most of our circle and most everyone said or did something during our wait that proved hurtful. My family, who are not ‘get it out there’ individuals, simply didn’t talk or ask about our adoption after the announcement. Some of my friends, though happy when we made the decision to adopt, seemed unable to or uninterested in talking about the less happy potentials of the adoption process (the uncertainty of waiting, ongoing feelings of sadness or hopelessness, realities of failed matches). It was almost as if they wanted to stay in the happy place of the actual adoption announcement and disregard everything else. 

But on the upside, I had support through the ups and downs (for us anyway) of the adoption process. I learned who to talk to when, so that I received the kind of support I needed when I needed it. And I became much closer to a few family members and friends who really ‘got it’ . I do feel that giving our family and close friends a ‘heads up’ in regards to our adoption plans made it easier for them to understand and be excited about our eventual successful match with our son. Like I said before, adoption was a new thing to our circle, and they needed the time to come to terms with their expectations of what our family would look like and how it would be formed.

I think I came to the adoption process a bit road weary from my experiences with infertility. As such I didn’t design a cute or fun way to announce our adoption plans. You seem to be starting the process of adoption from a more upbeat place, and I think you could totally create a fun announcement. Maybe you could buy the “World’s Best Grandparent” shirts and then add the word ‘Adoptive’ in fabric paint above with an arrow pointing down between ‘Best’ and ‘Grandparent’. Or maybe you could have cards printed that announce “We have decided to adopt a child”. The inside of the card could continue with something like “The journey to our child may be long or arduous, but we wanted to share the joy of our decision with a trusted few as we begin”...I don’t know, something that makes it clear that you may not know when or how your child will arrive, and something that indicates that you are NOT announcing to everyone. Hmmm, I’ll keep thinking about cool ways to announce.

Posted: 14 January 2010 07:28 PM   Ignore ]  
Total Posts:  8
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Oooo…neat ideas!  DH and I actually own our own business making shirts (we have outside jobs too), we could easily make those.  I also design greeting cards (I work with another company that actually makes those), and I’ve had such a hard time trying to come up with some cute cards.  I do have one that I just realized would work perfect for an older child adoption, it has a little boy all covered in paint holding a paint brush in front of a wall with red paint all over it that says “remember when I was little…” on the front and “...and you wished I would have a kid just like me some day?  Well, your wish is going to come true, we’re expecting” on the inside-I could edit that to reflect an adoption/pending adoption.  Actually, I could do the “worlds greatest” ones and adapt them with an adoption theme too…

Since we’re both in our 30’s I think most people gave up on us “having” kids (we’ve been married for over 15 years, thry gave up asking a few years ago), and since no one in our families or circle of friends has adopted, I don’t think many even think about it.  Plus we’ve never discussed it.  I, at one time, was really all gung-ho about getting pregnant and “having” kids, and as I got to a point where it was actually fesible I just didn’t want to face that.  Then the more I thought about it, one thing my DH said when we first started dating stuck in my head (I want to make a difference in peoples lives).  I know having kids and raising them with values and nurturing them does make a difference, but adopting out of foster care makes a real difference in the life/lives of someone that’s already here.  Dh is a little less enthusiastic about it, and just admitted he still wants a bio child and is kind of mad at me for being able to make the choice and him not having a voice in it (I really have listened and understand, but I can’t change how I feel).  Now he wants me to help him figure out how to tell people WHY we are adopting “since there’s nothing (physically) wrong with me”.  I’m struggling with the right wording, I don’t want to sound like I’m saying we’re such wonderful people that we are going to rescue kids that are already here instead of bringing more into the world.  I say this only because as I said, we have family that hasn’t adopted but have their own bio kids, including family that struggled for years to do so, and I don’t want how I feel to be misconstrued as saying people that choose to have bio kids are less of a person because they didn’t adopt a child in need.  Most people’s best analogy to adoption is chosing to adopt a pet from the pound vs buying one from a breeder (it’s a terrible analogy, but if you don’t have the urge to adopt and don’t know anyone that has adopted, it’s probably the only IRL experiance you have had with adoption of any sort).

Posted: 15 January 2010 01:23 AM   Ignore ]  
Total Posts:  31
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You are probably right that many of your friends and family may not immediately understand a desire to adopt without the infertility that brings many couples to a similar decision. And I completely understand your not wanting to make biological parents feel badly for not choosing to adopt from foster care OR to imply that adopting from foster care is an altruistic or ‘rescuing’ act.

Our reasoning for choosing to adopt was fairly clear to others. We wanted to parent a child and I was infertile, so others assumed adoption was a logical decision. But just because you want to parent a child and you are NOT infertile in no way makes your desire to adopt illogical. I never had to explain my reasons, so it might be easy for me to say this, but I think your just honestly saying something along the lines of “We have decided to start a family and we feel strongly that we wish to create our family by adopting a child, perhaps an older child, through the foster care system” should really suffice.  I do understand that family and friends are curious, and they care so they want to understand. But I guess I feel that when a potential adoptive parent is asked to justify or explain his/her decision to adopt (by family and friends) there is an implication that the decision is in need of questioning. Would these same individuals ask for a ‘why’ were you to announce you were starting a family through a pregnancy and birth? 

I may be treading on thin ice here, and I apologize in advance if I break through, but perhaps the reason your husband feels it is important to have the ‘why’ answer lined up for family and friends is because he is still adapting to the idea of raising adopted children instead of biological children. Perhaps because he is thinking about the ‘why’ he is nervous that everyone else will too and doesn’t yet feel confident enough to simply explain that foster care adoption is just what feels right for you two.

The way you have described your decision making process, ‘foster care adoption just feels right for us’ IS kind of your ‘why’.

Again, so sorry if stuck my foot in my mouth.

Posted: 15 January 2010 02:49 AM   Ignore ]  
Total Posts:  8
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I guess we assume people will ask because just like other things people aren’t familiar with or is out of their ordinary, they are curious and try to understand.  I think this is one reason people tend to point out and ask about a child that is obviously not a birth child, like in interracial adoptions.  They aren’t trying to be rude, they just don’t understand.  I think this happens to older parents too, both bio and adoptive-“why did you wait until you were so old” or “don’t you think it will be weird to be the same age as your kids frinds grandparents” or things along those lines.

Don’t worry about thin ice, I’ve got a tough skin and prefer honesty.  And truthfully, there’s so much I am trying to understand, from how the kids feel to how family will feel and even how we feel, and insight is always appreciated.  I think you are partly right about him.  At this time, we have not officially begun the process so I am trying to talk to him and get all of these things out in the open now, before we do start the ball rolling.  I think it’s harder for him since this is completely outside of his familiar zone, and I’m sure because he was raised in a “traditonal” (mom, dad, brother, all bio) nuclear family it feels less “natural” to him.

I am soo going to play with some new designs tomorrow after work :D Thanks everyone for the replies and thoughts!  Since we haven’t told anyone that we are considering this yet, it’s soooo helpful to have a plce to talk about these things openly!

 
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