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.