Once you decide to adopt, you may be so over the moon with joy that you want to share your decision with friends and family. In your exuberance, you may not even pause to think about what their reaction will be.
Unfortunately, the process isn't what you expect.
For numerous reasons, some friends and family members may be less than excited about your adoption decision. In many cases, this is coming from a place of love. They may be concerned about how the process will affect you emotionally or anxious about you getting your heart broken if the adoption falls through.
Others times, loved ones can be startling insensitive, especially if you plan to be a single parent, are a same-sex couple or want to adopt a child from a different race or culture.
Your loved ones are looking out for you, but in the end, this is a personal decision that can only be made by you and your partner. You can take the advice of your friends and family into consideration, of course, but they shouldn’t influence your choice.
It can help to broach the subject with positivity. Here are some tips:
Address their concerns:
If your friends and family worried about the process, listen to what they have to say. Repeat their issues back them so you make sure you understand where they are coming from. Nothing makes a tense situation even worse than a simple misunderstanding.
Their heart may be in the right place even if you disagree with what they are saying. If you are planning on an adoption that involves a child of a different race, for example, don’t take your parents’ fears as a sign that they won’t accept your child or love her as much as their other grandchildren. Maybe mom and dad are simply nervous about the way strangers will react to your family or perhaps they are concerned about the extra expenses you’ll be taking on and don’t want to see you struggle to make ends meet. Don't forget that adopting an inter-racial child almost always turns out to be an amazingly wise decision!
Talk it out and explain your level of love and awareness.
Keep in mind that while you’ve already completed a ton of research and talked with professionals about adoption, you friends and family are approaching the issue fresh. If they do not have any prior experience with adoption, their first instinct might be to congratulate you cautiously.
Don’t let this bother you. They may be reacting to sad stories they’ve seen in the news about how challenging adoption can be or how a birth mother made the adopting parents lives more difficult. Instead, help educate them about the adoption process. Share with them what you have learned and offer to answer any questions.
Spread the joy. Whatever happens, let them know that this is your decision and you’re comfortable with it and overjoyed by the upcoming addition to your family!