Tuesday, March 01, 2011

When To Share Your Adoption Plans With Others

Making the decision to adopt is a personal journey that can be different things to different people. For some, it's a natural decision that serves to solidify the plans that they have for their family. For others, it's a much more tense subject that may come on the heels of a rough battle with infertility. However, despite the circumstances which led to the decision, the actual journey through the adoption process may be filled with anticipation, anxiety at times, uncertainty, yet it can amazingly fulfilling, exciting, and joyous. The question arises as to when you should share your plans to adopt with your family and friends. Instead of determining exactly when this conversation should take place, it is probably best to consider your level of comfort with your decision and to set realistic expectations for the responses that you may get.

Here are a few considerations that may help you to determine whether or not the time is right for you and your partner to share that information:

1. Remember that the adoption decision and process was not an overnight thing. It took some time for you to figure it all out and decide whether it was right for you. The same holds true for the people that have known you and love you. When you decide to tell them, don't expect them to completely understand or be exceptionally accepting immediately. Give them a chance to "digest" it and the impact that your decision will also have on their lives.

2. Decide whether you are open to criticism, an abundance of "advice", and questions. It's only natural for people to have an opinion. While it would be great for everyone to just embrace your decision, congratulate you, and go on, it's not a realistic expectation to expect everyone to do that. Prepare yourself by figuring out exactly what you feel comfortable sharing versus those things that you find a bit more invasive.

3. Realize that at some point, you may be faced with a confrontation with those that have a more negative perspective on adoption or your decision to adopt. Make an effort to avoid anyone that you feel will make you exceptionally uncomfortable or that will make you feel insecure in your decision. For those that you believe you can handle, stay positive when dealing with their negativity. Try to help them to see the wonderful side of adoption. If they can't see it, leave them alone.

4. Discuss with your partner whether or not you want to ever share the information with some people. You may never choose to tell some people and that is your prerogative.

Regardless of when you finally tell others, the key is to make sure that you are comfortable with your decision and the implication that your decision has on your life and those of your loved ones. No matter what others think, stay excited, stay happy, stay in tuned to your own feelings and those of your partner, and hold on to the positive anticipation of making your family complete!

1 comment:

Elisabeth O'Toole, "In On It: What Adoptive Parents Would Like You to Know About Adoption. A Guide for Relatives and Friends." said...

Great advice. So much of the adoption process happens apart from those who might normally be very involved in a huge life experience like this one. As such, others do not benefit from the education and experience with adoption we adoptive parents receive. I'd just like to add to the advice that we adoptive parents often discover we have a responsibility to educate others about adoption -- especially those closest to us and our children. Our relatives and friends often want (and require) insights and information about adoption. It benefits our families if we can provide them with some.