Now, when you think about adoption announcements, you’re probably envisioning being able to share that much-awaited photo of your new bundle of joy. But embarking on a journey to become parents through adoption is also significant and worth announcing to your loved ones and friends. Here’s what to keep in mind as you plan your adoption announcements.
Announcing Your Plans to Adopt
Some adoptive couples immediately tell friends, family, neighbors, and co-workers they will adopt because they’re excited to embark on this new journey. Others tell only a select few because they’re not ready for the barrage of questions they might get.
Whether to share about your adoption journey depends upon what you and your spouse are comfortable with. Remember that the news you’re adopting might reach a friend of a friend who knows someone thinking about placing their baby!
If you choose to hold off on sending adoption announcements, I recommend revealing your news once a birth mother has chosen you or when you’re getting ready to bring home your baby. However, you don’t need to share any details of the birth mother’s situation or the baby’s circumstances that you aren’t comfortable with.
Family members or friends may ask you whenever they see you, “Have you adopted yet?” or “Any updates?” Tell them you’ll inform them when you match or get an adoption opportunity from your adoption professional. You can also educate those who have a negative response to adoption or who use hurtful and damaging adoption language.
At the end of the day, choosing when and how to tell others about your adoption is totally up to you. Not every hopeful adoptive parent is comfortable with sending adoption announcements.
Ideas for Your Adoption Announcements
Pairing words as simple as “We’re adopting” or “Growing our family through adoption,” along with a recent family photo, is a beautiful way to share your adoption news. Maybe you’d like to get crafty with your adoption announcements and create a sign that reads, “Waiting for You” to hold in your photo shoot. You might also include a shot of your future baby’s nursery, infant accessories, or other sweet symbolism to enhance the look of your adoption announcements.
Below are a few ideas for your adoption announcements, which you can click to view full-size. Feel free to use these photos from Lifetime’s hopeful adoptive parents to draw inspiration as you plan and create your announcements. As you’ll see, some couples chose to have adoption shirts printed, while others shared their adoption news on a sign. Most hopeful adoptive parents share their adoption announcement photos on social media, including Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, and other platforms. But no matter how you decide to share your adoption news with the world, you’ll want to remember this moment forever.
Telling Your Children
It’s essential to carefully share the news of your plans to adopt with your children. You want to tell your children so they aren’t shocked when a new baby comes home, but you also want to protect them from the uncertainties of adoption.
You can take the opportunity to talk to your child about the different ways families grow. And if your child is adopted, you’ll also want to chat with them about their own adoption story.
Avoid talking over your child’s level of understanding. Instead, approach the topic in a developmentally and age-appropriate way. What makes a conversation age-appropriate may differ based on your child’s maturity or curiosity. To start the dialogue and help explain adoption, many adoptive parents read books about adoption to their children.
Take timing and how much you share into account. I recommend you hold off on telling your child when you’re in a match. If the match falls through or the birth mother changes her mind, your child may have a difficult time understanding where the baby is that you talked about.
In addition, avoid telling your child when the baby is coming home. They may become confused, especially if your child is young and still learning the concept of time. If your child was adopted, a fall-through may bring up questions or emotions surrounding their adoption.
It’s a good idea to have a distinct adoption or birth story that holds a special significance for each of your children. While their stories may vary, it’s essential to recognize that they are all unique and valuable. Even if you have different amounts of information to share with them, try to find ways to make each story one-of-a-kind.
What if Our Family Isn’t Excited?
When you announce that you’re adopting, you might be expecting family members to be excited for you. However, some adoptive couples are surprised by indifferent reactions to their adoption news.
Sometimes, people in older generations don’t think of adoption as a way to build a family. Or, they might be anxious for you, after seeing sensationalized portrayal of adoption in the media. Some of your relatives might remember adoptions as they happened decades ago. To educate them on modern, open adoption, give them helpful books, websites, and adoption webinars.
While it hurts to have loved ones question your decision to adopt, keep in mind that they likely have the best intentions. Your relative’s concern comes from love for you, so it will help if you can see it that way.
Be firm and share that you appreciate their concern for you. Make sure to say that you’ve decided to adopt, but that you’re happy to answer questions that they may have about adoption. They’ll be becoming grandparents through adoption, and what you need now is their support.
What’s helped many hopeful adoptive parents in this situation is to talk about all the adoption research they’ve done. Adoption is something you’ve given a lot of thought and work toward; it isn’t just something you’ve jumped into.
Even if relatives don’t support your adoption decision during the wait, most adoptive parents find that they come around when their baby arrives. “My parents actually said that they weren’t sure that they would love an adopted grandchild as they did a biological grandchild!” says adoptive dad Mike. “But any worries we had were put to rest when they met our daughter. My dad, who seemed afraid of babies, holds her and plays with her with such love. As soon as they met her, and saw that we’re a family, they just got it.”
Editor’s Note: This article was originally published on January 4, 2016, and has since been updated.
Founder of Lifetime Adoption, adoptive mom, adoption expert, and Certified Open Adoption Practitioner (C.O.A.P).
Since 1986, adoption expert Mardie Caldwell has been dedicated to bringing couples and birth parents together in order to fulfill their dreams.
“Many years ago, I was also searching for a child to adopt. We didn’t know where or how to get started. Through research, determination, and a prayer, our dream of a family became reality. I started with a plan, a notebook, assistance from a caring adoption consultant and a lot of hard work; this was my family I was building. We had a few heartaches along the way, but the pain of not having children was worse!
Within weeks we had three different birth mothers choose us. We were overwhelmed and delighted. Many unsettling events would take place before our adoption would be finalized, many months later. Little did I know that God was training and aligning me for the adoption work I now do today. It is my goal to share with our families the methods and plans which succeed and do not succeed. I believe adoption should be affordable and can be a wonderful “pregnancy” for the adoptive couple.
I have also been on both sides of infertility with the loss of seven pregnancies and then conceiving by new technology, giving birth to a healthy daughter. I have experienced first-hand the emotional pain of infertility and believe my experience allows me to serve your needs better.
It is my hope that for you, the prospective parents, your desire for a child will be fulfilled soon.”