The biggest mistake I ever made when adopting was telling people.
The day we decided to adopt, I told everyone. We had just left the social worker, we signed on the dotted line, she told us we had an estimated wait time of 8-12 months, and I told people.
I was excited. We were adopting a baby. We were going to be PARENTS!
I told our friends, I told our family. I told friends of family. I didn’t care. We were going to ADOPT A BABY, and as far as I was concerned, everyone needed to know.
Here’s the thing though - when you tell people you are planning to adopt, it’s out there. And people don’t forget, especially baby stuff. No one forgets baby stuff. Why? Because baby stuff is fun! But it’s trickier with adoption because of the uncertainty that comes with it.
A lot goes on behind the scenes of an adoption process. There’s paperwork and fees, glitches and setbacks. These are incidentals, and incidentals take time, especially when they pile up. And when they pile up, the process becomes longer—-sometimes a lot longer.
That’s what happened to us.
No one ever told us about all the incidentals. I was told 8-12 months. So when that time passed and we still had no baby, all I could think of was, “I was told 8-12 months. We did everything we were supposed to do. We’re all set on our end. Where’s my kid, yo?”
It was discouraging.
Of course our friends and family were sympathetic. Everyone in our support circle was great. But no one knew what we were going through. They didn’t KNOW. How could they? They had never been through the process. Or if they had, “It was a lot different when [they] did it.”
I felt very alone in my life of limbo, all the while combating a constant barrage of questions—-ALL THE TIME, on a daily basis: “When’s the baby coming?” “What’s the news on the baby?” “Have you heard anything new on the baby?” “Do you have your date for the baby?”
It was not fun. But people have questions. That’s going to happen with an adoption.There were no real social media outlets at the time. So we couldn’t make any proclamations or announcements online. We just had to deal with a lot of questions and no real answers.
Somehow though, my husband found an adoption support group website for people going through the same process as us. I had never really presented myself online before, except through work. So internet pages were very new to me. The page he found seemed cool, and it spoke to our needs and situation. So I picked a super-cute profile picture, chose a screen name, and signed in.
Through that page, I met up with a ton of cool people who were also adopting or had already adopted. We didn’t know each other in real life. But our personalities shined through our profile pictures and comments.
I liked it there. The people were fun and sharp and helpful. For sure there were some haters, but that’s part of life. Those people are entitled to be heard—-and we’re entitled to ignore them—-because it’s not about them.
It’s about finding the good people who you support and support you. It’s about finding the people you click with who truly understand where you are at this time in your life.
It’s only natural to want to tell people when the decision is made to start a family. It’s great news to share. I’m just saying, if had to do it all over again, I would maybe tell a few less hundred people because things might take longer than originally anticipated. So less people means minimizing explanations if things don’t go smoothly.
The smartest thing I did was find a group where I felt comfortable. I had people to go to on days I felt excited and days I felt discouraged (because during an adoption process, there will both). Plus, you never know who you might meet. The people I have met, many are still are in my life today. We have grown together and our super-cute profile pictures have gotten even cuter, because now there are kids in them.