When my wife and I went through the adoption process for the first time, we were super excited to share everything with all of our friends. When we were actually contacted by a birthmother for the first time, our excitement grew to a level that we just could not contain. We were bubbling over with enthusiasm and optimism to the extent that we had to tell every single one of our friends. And being as excited as we were, the number of people we considered “friends” grew quickly to the point where we were telling just about everybody who came within earshot.
Then things with the adoption started to fall apart. Sure, the birthmother wanted to go through with the adoption still, but all of the legal issues and difficulty with the birthfather made it so we abandoned hope of placement. Very slowly, usually only when our “friends” would ask us how things were going, we got the word back out that we weren’t likely going to soon be parents.
It’s not uncommon for people to wait a little while when pregnant to tell people out of fear of an early miscarriage or something, and they hope to avoid having worry about awkward conversations. That’s how it was for us when we adopted for a second time. We were determined to keep it from everybody until we were pretty confident the adoption would go through. The problem with that was that our second adoption was even less “for sure” than our first one. The due date kept creeping closer and closer and we had only told a very very select few people, far different than what we had done with our first adoption. We had never been promised or officially selected to adopt the soon-to-be born baby. We weren’t positive the birth parents would choose adoption, and even if they did choose adoption, we weren’t positive they’d choose us. So we waited.
Finally, a few days before the due date, we decided to start telling people we had one “possibly” happening. Still, we weren’t sure it was going to happen, but we wanted to allow ourselves a little bit of time to celebrate and get ourselves mentally excited about the possibilities. Even after our daughter was born and still even after she came home with us from the hospital, we weren’t sure it was going to happen. People started to see us at church or wherever and say, “Who’s baby is this?” because we had told so few people. Ha ha. We successfully avoided the awkward conversation of having to tell anyone our adoption fell through, but we sure surprised a lot of our “friends” with the sudden appearance of a new baby.
How would we do it if we chose to adopt for a third time? Well, probably the same way as our second, but hopefully we would have a little more assurance before the birth so we could actually tell people what was soon to happen. There’s really no way of knowing how the process will go, though. That’s just the nature of the adoption game.
–by Russell Elkins, author of Open Adoption, Open Heart: An Adoptive Father’s Inspiring Journey