We’ve all seen them—cute, colorful, clever, “Look! We’re going to have a baby!” announcements gone viral. While this latest craze in sharing this news with your family, friends, and the world-at-large seems harmless and fun for those who can’t seem to contain their excitement, deciding the right time and with whom to share your plans for starting or growing your family, especially through adoption, can be intimidating and scary if you’re not 100 percent sure of where things stand with paperwork, legal issues, and travel issues, as well as your own feelings regarding how much is too much to share with the masses.
It’s ok to not buy a billboard announcing your adoption. It does not mean that you love your child any less than families who go all-out, from creating fundraising/donation websites to baby blog countdowns complete with tear-jerker playlists that result in immediate blubbering. It’s also okay to work through the very complicated systems of private adoption, agency adoption, or foster to adopt in private.
Every experience is different. While my husband and I were getting our feet wet with paperwork, maneuvering through the system, and waiting on word from our adoption agency, support group, and the orphanage, we decided to hold off until we were fairly certain everything was a go before whispering a word to family, friends, or coworkers.
It wasn’t just that we wanted to make sure things were going to work out; we were where we needed to be emotionally and mentally for ourselves and our child-to-be. And that’s ok to do without involving other people.
Believe it or not, this intimate act of working toward our first child together bonded my husband and me. From our first meeting with the adoption agency, through physicals and psychiatric tests, to our first home study, to that unforgettable day we received our referral, we grew to rely on and trust one another first and foremost. Truly, it was our first taste at what parenthood would eventually feel like—putting something ahead of our individual needs. As intense and sometimes never-ending as this time can feel, having each other to lean on made the experience bearable and, sometimes, even silly and fun. Who else can you kid with about getting fingerprint ink all over your steering wheel?
Also, choosing not to involve too many people allowed us time to get our safe-for-baby bathtub ducks in a row and fully understand what we were getting ourselves into by reading articles, sharing thoughts, completing the required courses, and meeting other adopting families—all without being bombarded by outside (and often uninformed and unsolicited) opinions and adoption and foster “horror stories” that some people seem to love to share. In some ways, it felt overwhelming to have to explain things to those outside the adoption circle who were not riding the roller coaster that we found ourselves on from that first moment of deciding to become adoptive parents.
It wasn’t until we knew for certain that we had been approved and that our adoption dossier had been given the green light that we chose a few key people in our lives to open up to before making an official announcement that we were adopting to friends and coworkers who began to grow suspicious as we were out of the office “running errands and going to appointments.”
Sharing our plans out loud was liberating, and having waited until “the right” moment for us meant that we were on the same page and felt educated enough to answer the slew of questions, concerned responses, and, in some cases, inappropriate comments that came our way—and be assured, there will be lots of all three. It was okay, though. We were ready.
So no matter if you choose to keep things low-key or if your mission is to make the world grab for a Kleenex and hit the share button, do yourself a favor. Enjoy the news first in private with your spouse, partner, or inner circle until you feel prepared for your own unique adoption journey.