When you announce that you're adopting, you might be expecting family members to be excited for you. But some adoptive parents are shocked by indifferent reactions to their adoption news. Today, Lifetime is sharing a few tips to cope with this situation!
Sometimes, people in your parent's or grandparent's generations don't think of adoption as a way to build a family. Or, they might be anxious for you, after seeing sensationalized portrayal of adoption in the media. “My parents had concerns and questions they needed to deal with before they got excited. But once I was able to educate them on modern adoption, they were fully on board and so eager for another grandchild!" shares one of Lifetime's adoptive moms.
While it hurts to have loved ones question your adoption decision, keep in mind that they likely have the best intentions. Your relative's concern comes out of love for you, so it will help if you can see it that way. We encourage you to be firm with them and share that you appreciate their concern for you. Make sure to say that you've decided to adopt, but that you’re happy to answer questions that they may have. What you need now is their support.
What's helped many hopeful adoptive couples in this situation is to talk about all the adoption research they've done. This can put their minds at ease; this isn't just something you've jumped into.
Education is important in adoption! Some of your relatives might remember adoptions as they happened decades ago. To educate them on modern, open adoption, give them helpful books, websites, and adoption webinars.
If you're seeking a transracial adoption, you might find that some your relatives seem uncomfortable. Now is the time to speak up if this seems to be the case. Tell your family that it’s a good time to question their assumptions. If you ask to talk about it and they resist, try mentioning that you know they want to be the best grandpa or grandma that they can be. Watch out for subtle stereotyping, too.
Even if relatives don’t support your adoption decision during the wait, most adoptive parents find that they come around when their baby comes home. Once they meet their new grandchild (or niece or nephew), their doubts will usually fall away.
"My parents actually said that they weren’t sure that they would love an adopted grandchild as they did a biological grandchild!" says adoptive dad Mike. "But any worries we had were put to rest when they met our daughter. My dad, who seemed afraid of babies, holds her and plays with her with such love. As soon as they met her, and saw that we’re a family, they just got it."