A Family Affair
My husband and I were ready to tell our families about our decision to adopt around Christmas. We spoke to our parents, in person, ahead of time, but we told the rest of the family by way of the gifts we gave them; each family received a copy of the book by Patricia Irwin Johnston, Adoption is a Family Affair! What Relatives and Friends Must Know. They were all excited!
A Change in Plans
My husband and I decided to tell everyone that we had started the adoption process at the family birthday party that my in-laws gave me.
We had planned on telling them after dinner and presents, but my husband apparently had his own idea. The last gift I opened was his. It was a porcelain figurine of a mother bending over a bassinet with a baby in it. I was so touched that I burst into tears. Everyone knew about our infertility issues, so they just looked at my husband like he was crazy for giving this to me and thought I was crying because I was upset. He then broke the news about our adoption plans, and it was a great moment. A surprising one for me, but one I will never forget.
Friends Provided Support
After I signed up for the Los Angeles County Fost/adopt program, I told my circle of friends personally. I would have liked my family’s support, but knew that their opinion would in no way influence my decision. In fact, members of my family disapproved and tried to sabotage my decision. With time, a few have come to understand and accept my choice, but others still don’t. My family of friends recently gathered to celebrate the adoption of my daughter.
Trusting in the Family’s Support
Our families were not aware that we were struggling with infertility, so I was anxious about the questions they might ask about our decision to adopt. We were concerned about their reaction, as well, since it was important to us that our child be accepted into our extended families. We waited to share our plans with our extended families and friends until we had had a referral for a child. This was a good decision for us. My husband told our parents and siblings personally and they were all extremely supportive. I should have given them more credit and trusted in their support. However, there were a few who made—and, occasionally, still make—comments and remarks that are unsettling. The comments are not intended to be hurtful; they are simply a result of a lack of understanding.
—An AF Reader
Jumping to Conclusions
We went out to dinner with my parents, brother, and his family. We announced we had good news, and they all immediately assumed I was pregnant, which put a huge damper on the evening. It seemed like a bit of a let down for them to hear that we had decided to adopt our two little boys.
We Knew All Along
My husband and I decided a long time ago that, when the time was right to have children, we would pursue adoption. In the ensuing nine years we had many discussions with our extended family members regarding our adoption decision. For the most part, folks were very supportive. Still, many of them had questions—especially concerning open adoption. We ordered subscriptions to Adoptive Families magazine for both of our parents a year before we adopted our son, Akeke. As an only grandchild, he is spoiled rotten and loved to pieces by our extended families. I’m glad we had so many years to prepare our extended family. They had not previously imagined becoming grandparents, aunts, uncles, etc., through adoption, and needed the time, I think, to settle into the idea. They are all, of course, now soooo happy we chose adoption as a way to build the family.