As a hopeful adoptive parent, I don’t expect people to understand what we are going through or what to say to us when we tell them about our adoption. I know that adoption is a different experience than most people have ever had and that people may not know what to think, especially with all of the myths and horror stories that have been in the press over the years. But even though we are just beginning the process, there are already some things I wish people knew.
#1: We chose adoption and we are excited about it
My closest friends and family know how excited I am about adoption. But this past week, I had a well-meaning friend sit me down and ask me if I was really OK with adoption. It totally caught me off-guard. “Of course I’m OK with this – I’m very excited,” I said. This person looked at me with an expression of pity as if trying to draw out my true negative feelings. “You can tell me the truth,” she said. “How do you really feel?” I feel excited. Really. Seriously, I do.
I understand that many people feel that adoption is a last resort. That may be true for some, but while we tried very hard to have a biological child first, we did not try as hard as we could have. We did not do IVF, even though there is a chance that would have worked. We chose adoption over infertility treatments as the right thing for our family. We chose to adopt a child for many reasons. We are thrilled. We are beyond happy. We are not sad or disappointed or depressed that we “have to adopt.” We don’t have to adopt. We could have kept trying to have a biological child. Maybe we could have. Or we could have elected not to have children at all.
But we WANT to adopt. It’s every bit as special to us as if we were pregnant right now–and honestly, maybe it’s even a little bit more special. Is it going to be easy? No. Will there be some tough moments along the way? Of course. We know we will have to face some unique challenges that our friends with biological children won’t. But do we feel it will be worth it? Definitely.
I understand that not everyone would feel this way in the same position. But we do. I wish people knew that. I wish people would just automatically congratulate us on starting a family, like they would if we were pregnant. I wish they knew they don’t have to tiptoe around the subject of adoption or talk about our adoption like it’s a tragedy for us, or something we are doing out of desperation or with heavy hearts. Because, it’s actually quite the opposite. My heart has never felt lighter. Adoption is the right path for us–and we couldn’t possibly be any more excited.