While preparing to adopt, I want you to be aware of not always getting the reaction from family and friends that you may want. When we finished our home study and the social worker called to tell us that we were certified to adopt, we couldn’t have been happier. We just found out we were “paper pregnant”! The courts deemed us qualified to be parents.
We were eager to share the news and expected everyone to rejoice in this moment with us! We had been through so much to get to this point (4 failed IVF treatments), this was a grand hurdle to get over and should be celebrated.
Unfortunately, in many cases, people who do not have the same experience, don’t know how to react. They remain cautious because they may not be educated on the process or now they want to know why, as many keep their infertility issues private. They may be wondering are you infertile? How long have you been trying? Which one of you has the problem? Did you try IVF? Many will tell you that as soon as you adopt you will get pregnant. Is this supposed to make an infertile feel hopeful? Not sure why people say it, but EVERYONE seems to know someone this has happened to!
After the why questions, then they will suggest WHO you should adopt. “There are so many kids in foster care you should adopt them.” There are children that need rescuing and that should be your path. If you are pursuing an infant, you may begin to wonder if it is selfish of you to want a baby to swaddle and get up with several times a night. These individuals may have never considered adopting a child from foster care, but think YOU should. They don’t understand all the trials, red tape and emotions involved. These conversations can be exhausting. Can you imagine if someone announced they were pregnant and you flooded them with questions of who is the father? Do you know for sure? Where were you when you got pregnant? NOPE. This doesn't happen.
Another comment I got a lot that was difficult for me to swallow was, “you are great people for doing this and that child will be so lucky.” I always felt and still feel weird-ed out by this comment. We are not doing this to be great people or save a child, we just want to be parents. We are doing it for selfish reasons, to build our family. Is that wrong? And I'm sure I feel way luckier than my children ever will!
What is my suggestion? Hmmmm… You can't change friends and families’ first reaction. They are curious and they want to help. It is, most likely, coming from a good place. Truth is, most people in your inner circle will not be able to relate to you. The best reply I can suggest when a loved one questions you is, “there are many paths to adopt and we have chosen the one that best suits our family and we are so excited for the journey.” BAM! This way they know you are happy and you have done your research! Not that you have to soothe them, let’s just call it educating them…