During your adoption journey, you’ll more than likely attend at least a few social gatherings with friends and family. It’s only natural for comments and questions about your adoption to come up. Despite how well-intentioned they may be, these comments and questions can sometimes be uncomfortable or difficult to handle. Here are some things you can do to better prepare for and address them.
Educate and inform.
Educate your friends and family about adoption. This will help them have a better understanding of what you’re going through and where you’re at emotionally. Emphasize that this process takes time and how little control you have. Talk about how the expectant mother sets the pace and tone and everyone else is there to support her as she makes such a difficult decision during this fragile time in her life. If you’ve had any opportunities so far, tell them what you learned from them.
Talk about LifeLong Adoptions.
Talk about our company, what we do, and why you decided to work with us. Explain our philosophy of being a birthmother-centered company and why that is so important in adoption. Show them our website and show off your family profile. You can even ask them to share your profile with their friends and family to get more exposure!
Redirect the focus.
If you get comments or questions about how long it’s taking or how you haven’t adopted yet, shift the focus instead to the positive aspects of your journey. Talk about everything you’ve accomplished so far: You completed the long and arduous home study process, you were accepted into a selective adoption marketing and advertising program, you had a family profile created, you’re actively getting presented to prospective birthmothers, you completed an adoption education course, and anything else you’ve done.
Take a break.
If you’re concerned that social gatherings may be too stressful or difficult to handle, don’t be afraid to take a break from them altogether, or at least limit the amount of time you spend there. The adoption journey is tough, and there is nothing wrong with allowing yourself some grace during this time.
Give gifts and give back.
Consider gifting your friends and family a book on adoption. There are many books about adoption, and more still that are written specifically for family members and friends of adopting parents. This could help them better understand what you’re going through. If you’ve had any friends or family who’ve gone above and beyond for you during your journey, you may want to give them a small gift to thank them for their support. You may also benefit from giving yourself the gift of volunteering. Spending time giving back to your community can be a wonderful way to boost your mood, especially if you’re feeling particularly stressed or discouraged.
Document your journey.
If you’re comfortable sharing the details of your adoption journey with family and friends, consider creating a way for you to post regular updates for them to follow. For example, you can create a blog, email newsletter, or social media group. Keeping them informed in this way can lessen the number of difficult comments and questions you get when you see them in person. If there’s a particularly uncomfortable or painful topic you don’t want to talk about in person, you can use this platform to kindly ask them to avoid mentioning it when they see you.
Don’t hesitate to correct any misconceptions your friends and family may have about adoption. It’s important for you and your future child that those close to you have a good understanding of adoption and a healthy attitude towards it.
Still need help dealing with difficult or uncomfortable situations or questions about adoption? Reach out to your Adoptive Parent Coordinator or your home study social worker.