Friday, March 24, 2006

Sharing My Decision to Adopt with Family and Friends

This morning while my friend Carol and I were out for a walk, we began discussing my adoption journey (no surprise here!) and all that had transpired over the past 14 months.

She brought up something really insightful that I've thought about but had talked about here yet.

What Carol and I talked about was people's reactions to my news that I was adopting. Some jumped on board right away while others took probably close to a year to fully come on board. I was surprised by both. Some people who I thought would immediately be as excited as I was, were more reserved in their reaction. Others who I thought would need time to grasp the idea were ready to start knitting pink sweaters Day 1.

What I want to share is that over this year+, I've realized that each person's reaction was exactly right for them. An honest, open reaction from their heart.

If they were reserved, was it because they disagreed with my decision? No. Was it because they didn't understand? No.

It was because they love me. The love me so much that they didn't want to see me hurt should the adoption not happen. They wanted to somehow protect me from hurt and for that I am very thankful to each of them. If I was honest I'd say that I was often hurt (in a different way) by the 'reserved' reactions but only because at the time I didn't understand. It's taken me a long time to fully grasp why (I think) people react in different ways.

Becoming a Mother was something people knew I wanted to do someday but the thoughts I'd had, researching done and prayers offered up about the possibility adopting from China, was something I had only shared with 1 person. And, that discussion had only happened one time and I hadn't mentioned it to her again to the best of my knowledge. Me, who spills everything to everyone, had kept this silent thought and prayer deep inside. Because of this, when I announced what my intentions were, people took time to adjust. Some took 5 mins. Some 5 months and others an entire year. And that's ok. I'd had years to prepare myself and yet I was asking them to grasp it immediately and fall in love with the idea in an instant. I didn't realize it at the time, but my expectations were way out of line. Just as I had taken years to make this decision, they needed time to adjust to it too.

As you can tell by this blog, I'm not one to hide my heart. (Truth be told, I probably offer it out too much.) For me, I want to share what's happening. Do I get hurt? Yes...but don't we all. I put my heart out and sometimes it gets trampled. When that happens I pick up the pieces and with God's help move forward, hopefully a better person for what I've learned.

What I have learned is that putting my heart out is how God has made me and I'm happy I'm this way. The good that happens far outweighs the bad. I'm willing to risk it.

I guess, all of this is to share with those who may be new to the adoption journey, that you will receive many different reactions to your news. Please don't judge people by their reactions. Sometimes it will shock you. Sometimes hurt and sometimes you'll be pleasantly surprised!

Whenever you decide to share your wonderful news with family and friends, prepare your heart for a variety of reactions. It's going to be ok. Will it hurt? Sometimes. Will it bring joy? Often. I've been told by many wonderful friends who have already completed their adoptions that the minute people lay eyes on your beautiful daughter they're all there for you! I am so very, very thankful that this has already happened in my life.

Adoption is an emotional roller coaster (or 'Stroller Coaster') and the bumps and turns begin Day 1. Hang on and let's enjoy the ride together!


  1. I'm so glad you wrote about this. I had the same experience, people jumping on board right from the begining, and people (including some family members) saying some nasty stuff at first, and then slowly but surely coming around. Now, some of my biggest oppents early on are some of my greatest champions. Strange how that works. Still, although it hurt at the time, I'm glad I went through it. Makes me realize everyone is different and we all react differently to different things. :-) Thanks for thinking outloud with us!

  2. As someone who'd ridden the paperchase wave and now has her daughter home, let me share a bit of my experience. It was my very own mother who thought we were making the greatest mistake on the planet. She and I did not speak for quite some time during the paperchase because she kept prompting us to "have our own child." Well, guess who can't get enough of little Miss Gwen now? Guess who is always bringing toys, clothes, diapers and begging for hugs and kisses from her granddaughter? Yep, Mom. Never in a million years would I have thought it would happen but I am happy to say that Gwen has changed a lot of minds and hearts just as I know your little sweetie will too.

    Hugs from NC,

  3. Interesting. Our LID is Aug/05. We also had many interesting reactions. Many positive, but some that I really wasn't expecting. We've had to deal with comments such as,"if you're only going in a year, why are you telling us now" etc. I must say however, things have come a long way over the last year. Our family and friends are more educated about China adoptions (which I think is key). Ofcourse we had many people who were on board from the very beginning and those are the folks that keep you smilin'! Carolyn in PEI

  4. This is why I love the internet being able to share in our journey together and to find others that are experiencing what we are going through as we wait so patiently for our child. Thank you for sharing this with us.


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