Are you looking for simple ways to announce your adoption plans and get your family and close friends excited about your adoption journey? I get it. I’ve been there – Twice! You’re super excited about growing your family through adoption and you want your nearest and dearest on board.
However, it’s not only important for you, that your family and friends are involved. Talking to your family and friends about your plans to adopt is vital for your new baby or child too.
Your support network is discussed a lot during the process, but is it enough just to have a network of people willing to support you? That is definitely the first step.
However, in order to support you properly during the process, and the life you create afterwards, they will need to know a bit about adoption.
This post covers easy and practical ways that you can talk about your decision to adopt and get your family and friends just as excited as you are about the process! Well, ok, maybe not QUITE as excited as you are right now. I mean, no-one can be quite as excited as you, right?
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How To Announce Adoption Plans
Personally, I would advice caution. I know, I know, you’re super excited and you want everyone to know it!
However, similarly to trying to conceive, I wouldn’t be rushing to tell everyone as soon as you start trying. That being said, I would definitly be telling a few trusted friends and family members who you hope will support you during the process.
I speak from personal experience here. The first time we planned to adopt, I told everyone before we had even begun the adoption process. I thought that the more prepared people were the better and to be honest I was just so excited I couldn’t help myself!
In hindsight, this was not my best move.
It simply made it really hard for me throughout the process, as well meaning colleagues and friends continually asked how it was going and if we had a match yet.
It took 14 months for us from beginning the adoption assessment to getting our son home. The constant questions and reminders of how long it was taking made it so much harder for me to wait patiently.
How Long Does The Adoption Process Take?
Time scales vary hugely for adoption, and a lot depends on your circumstances, the child you’re willing to consider and social workers you get assigned. Whether you are adopting domestically or internationally, and whether you are adopting from foster care of fostering to adopt where it the goal is reunification to birth family wherever possible.
When Should I Tell My Family I Plan To Adopt?
The Adoption process can be really tough and emotional at times. You’re going to want trusted friends and family along for the ride to support you. I would advise telling them once you have decided to adopt, or before that if you want.
Personally, I wouldn’t see this as the time to do a flashy announcement though. This would be a small but significant conversation between you and them.
Be Prepared For Your Family and Friends Reactions to Your Adoption Plans
Everyone has their own preconceived ideas about adoption.
Some people’s knowledge or experience of adoption comes from movies they’ve seen, or books they’ve read, or friends they know who were adopted. Not everyone’s experience or opinion of adoption is going to be positive.
You can help by being open to answering questions and finding out more information for them. There are lots of social media accounts they could follow, or blogs, or books from other adopters or adoptees.
Some of their concerns will likely be completely valid, and coming from a place of love for you. They want the best for you and want to make sure you are making the right choice.
Opinions can take time to change but people’s opinions on numerous things change over time, so if your friends and family are not completely on board with your adoption plans to begin with, that doesn’t necessarily mean they never will be.
Talking Regularly About Your Adoption Journey and What You’re Learning is Important
Unfortunately, many adopters report that their support network dwindles after they adopt. I wonder if this is partly due to a lack of knowledge amongst those in the support network about what adoption really involves.
It is no longer a case of adopting a baby and then living ‘happily ever after’.
Adoption often requires a different way of parenting, a change of expectations, and a level of support that is beyond ‘normal’ parenting.
Talking to our friends and family before we adopt, as well as keeping them involved during the process, is a good way to make sure they are prepared.
The Best Ways to Tell Others About Your Adoption Plans
Preparation is key. Start talking about your plans to adopt early.
Think about how long the process to adopt is for you. The earlier you start to share knowledge with those closest to you, the better.
It’s also easier to answer sensitive questions when they are about a theoretical child. I found it easy to talk to work colleagues about the many, varied reasons that children need to be adopted. However, I really struggled at a playgroup when someone asked me why my child’s parents ‘didn’t want them’!’
On that note, its also worth considering ahead of time how much of your child’s story you are comfortable sharing, and with who.
Share little and often
When you learn about anything, ‘little and often’ is usually a good method.
Information-dumping on someone risks them forgetting or zoning out. I speak from experience here!
Share little bits as you learn more through your reading, through conversations with others and through hearing others stories.
Personal stories are more memorable
Your friends and family are far more likely to remember information told to them in story form; most people do.
Share parts of your story and journey with them. This keeps the information personal and relevant.
The more vulnerable you are able to be with your closest friends and family, the more they will be able to empathise and support you. Share the experiences of others you have met on your journey or direct them to blogs and social media accounts of adopters.
These are real life kids and real life families.
Most people who have not been through the adoption process themselves won’t know an awful lot about it. Bring them along on the journey with you.
Help them become emotionally invested. After all, that’s what you would be doing if this was a pregnancy, right?
If you’re able to, share photos of your future baby or child once you have been matched.
Seeing that little face for the first time can be a powerful moment, and the moment when it all really becomes real to them.
I still remember the first time I shared my son’s photo with my sister-in-law. The moment she saw it she burst into tears. She loved him instantly.
Now I’m not saying that every Auntie, Uncle, Gran or Grandad will feel the same. Love at first sight happens for some of us, but not all of us. I didn’t experience love at first sight with my kids and that’s perfectly all right.
However, there is something about seeing a little face that makes everything more real. It’s the first step in bonding and it’s exciting!
It allows you all to start picturing this little person as part of your family.
Check if your agency or local authority offer training or information days for family and friends to attend.
These can be a great way for them to learn about adoption, along with others, and ask questions that they might not feel comfortable asking you.
If you’re in the UK, then check out the Adoption UK website for affordable training opportunities for adopters, both online and in-person.
Use resources to share about adoption
There are some great books available to help introduce the idea of adoption and generate discussions with your friends and family. For more information on these books and others, check out, 10 Powerful books to read before before you adopt.
- Related by adoption: a handbook for grandparents and other relatives by Hedi Argent. I got a few copies of this great little book from Amazon for my relatives before I adopted. It’s brilliant for any adult who you hope will be involved in your new child’s life. It’s short, simple and covers the basics.
- The New Small Person, by Lauren Child is not specifically an adoption book. However, my son absolutely loved it and it is relevant to becoming an older sibling by birth or adoption. It paints a realistic picture of the good and not-so-good things about gaining a younger sibling. It was a great starting point for discussions. It would also work well for young nieces and nephews.
Talking about adoption benefits your kids
I hope that this article has helped you find some easy ways to get your family excited about your adoption journey.
The more invested they are in your journey, the more supportive they will hopefully be during the process and your family life together after adoption.
At the end of the day, the more your people know, and feel part of your journey, the better they are able to support you. The better you are supported, the better parent you can be to your child and the happier they will be. And that is the most important thing.
Further Adoption Preparation
If your support network is fairly small and you want to learn about expanding it, check out Growing your adoption support network. This article is full of easy ways to grow your network and increase the support available to you.
The adoption home-study can take a while. It’s smart to use that time to become as informed as you can about the realities of adoption. If you’re looking for some adoption book recommendations to get stuck into, during the process, then check out, 10 Powerful books to read before before you adopt.
I hope you are able to get your family excited about your adoption journey and I wish you all the best going forward. Feel free to get in touch, via the contact me page or social media, if you have any questions I’ve not answered for you.
How To Announce Your Adoption Plans
There is no one right way to announce your adoption plans. It will be different for everyone, but the main priority is to include your close friends and family in your adoption journey all the way through.
Your adoption support network is scrutinised a lot through your adoption process, so you want them to be knowledgeable and excited about supporting you as you grow your family in this special way.
The best way to achieve this is by keeping them up-to-date with how you’re doing, what you’re thinking and anything interesting you learn along the way.
The better prepared they are, the more they can support you, both during the process and your family life afterwards.