Whether you’ve just decided on adopting, or have finished the necessary paperwork and home study to adopt, you may be wondering the same thing…“How (and when) do we tell people we’re adopting?”
The decision of whether to share about your adoption journey depends upon what you and your spouse are comfortable with. Some hopeful adoptive families tell friends, family, neighbors, and co-workers right away because they’re so excited. Others tell only a select few, because they’re not ready for the barrage of questions that they might get.
We do suggest that you reveal your adoption plans once you’re matched with a birth mother, or when you’re getting ready to bring home your baby. However, you don’t need to share any details of the birth mother’s situation or the baby’s circumstances that you aren’t comfortable with.
There may be family members or friends who ask you every time they see you “have you adopted yet?” “Any updates?” Let them know you’ll inform the moment you match or hear from your adoption center of an adoption possibility. This also gives you the chance to educate people who have a negative response to adoption, or who use hurtful and negative adoption language.
Remember, the choice of when and how to tell others about your adoption journey is totally up to you.
Telling Your Children
It’s essential to share the news of your plans to adopt a new baby brother/sister with your children carefully. If you have any children who were also adopted, now is also a good time to talk with them about their own adoption story.
We recommend that you hold off on telling your child when you’re in a match. If the match falls through or the birth mother changes her mind, your child will have a hard time understanding where the baby is that you talked about. Also avoid telling your child when the baby is coming home. They may become confused, especially if your child is young and still learning the concept of time. And if your child is adopted, a fall through may bring up questions, emotions, or issues surrounding their own adoption.
What’s smart is if you have an adoption/birth story with special meaning for each of your children. Acknowledge that their stories may be different, but they’re all special. Even if you have totally different amounts of info to share with them, you’ll want to find a way to make their stories unique.
By talking with your spouse, you’ll decide the best way to reveal your adoption plans. You want to share your plans so that your children aren’t shocked when a new baby comes home, but you also want to protect them from the uncertainties of adoption.