coming out

We have been very open with family members and close friends about our adoption plans. However, although it might not seem like it (since I share my deepest thoughts and feelings here on the internet), I am actually a private person in real life. So, beyond family and close friends, I don’t feel the need for everyone in the world to know about our plans at this point in time.

I’ve had a hard time, though, sharing our plans with friends that sort of fall in between the obvious close friend category and the we’re-not-telling-you-until-we’ve-got-a-referral category. It actually really bugs me when I think about a particular group of friends that doesn’t know yet. I guess I sort of feel like I’m keeping a secret, and I’m not sure why I haven’t told them. At this point I feel like a bit of a coward because I haven’t found the way to bring up the subject.

There are a few other fairly close friends I haven’t told. One example is a coworker. She is definitely my closest friend in the office, although we have never socialized outside of the workplace. This poor woman was the one who had to deal with a full-on dose of sobbing and hysterics when my doctor called me – at work – to tell me about my balanced translocation. But the fact of the matter is that she’s a bit racist. She makes comments about “the blacks,” so I know why I haven’t told her yet. I hear her little comments here or there and they make the hair stand up on the back of my neck.Β  I guess I know I will have to be ready to dig in and address some of her comments.

The other day I posted a somewhat cryptic post on FB about our USCIS approval. I figured those who didn’t know what I was talking about would either ignore it or ask what I was talking about. Some people did some googling and figured it out (well, sort of – I think they thought we were bringing a child home really soon), so I’ve entered into a dialogue with them and that’s been great.

For a long time I didn’t think that we would tell many people our plans until we had a referral. At that point we will be shouting from the rooftops, I’m sure! But now that we’ve reached The Wait, and I feel like this might actually really happen (I still have my doubts, but I think that’s mostly a defense mechanism due to all of the family-building disappointments we’ve had over the years), I think I’m ready to come out to some of these friends. But it makes me nervous. Will they ask a lot of questions? Will they not understand why we chose to adopt transracially? Will they wonder why we didn’t adopt domestically? Will they ask questions about why we’re not having a baby the old-fashioned way?

And then I look at those questions and I think it’s silly for me to feel shy about this. We are going to have questions asked of us for the rest of our lives. We are adopting transracially, for goodness sake – we will be a walking, talking example of adoption. So why not start addressing the questions now?

So, to my adoptive parent and prospective adoptive parent friends out there, I ask you: When and how did you share your adoption plans with your friends and family?


And an update because I know you’re all just dying to know: Mr. Mouse has left the house. Let’s just say it wasn’t pretty and leave it at that. I’m proud to say (to make up for comparing him to a little girl a few weeks ago) that Craig was a big, strong, masculine man in dealing with the situation this morning. Here’s hoping it really was just one mouse…

This entry was posted in adoption, baby, ethiopia, family, friends. Bookmark the permalink.

17 Responses to coming out

  1. Jennifer says:

    Great question. In a lot of ways, I’m private just like you – outside of blogging. We have told our close family (parents, siblings) and close friends (those we see often) and close co-workers (bosses mainly). We haven’t told our extended family…more distant friends/acquaintances or other co-workers just yet. I haven’t even mentioned anything on Facebook yet.

    I think we’re waiting on the referral before we explode with our big news to EVERYONE. It will be easier to tell the “extended” and more “distant” people once we have the referral, because that will put more of a “face” on the adoption, so to speak…and we can tell them about her, not just the idea of her.

    I’m not sure if that makes sense to you, but it’s how we decided to tell people.

  2. Robin says:

    I’m so glad Mr. Mouse is gone!! I was going to suggest a trap or something (the humane kind that they can walk into) but I thought you had surely already thought of that.

    I can imagine why and how it would be difficult to tell someone and sort of come out about your plans to adopt. I have had similar, yet different of course, issues with telling people about Alli’s diagnosis. Since she was born healthy it’s been sort of difficult to just casually mention her issues without making a big deal. How do you bring that up if you run into someone in the grocery store?

    Anyhow, I think what has helped us most is just going with our gut and feeling things out. And of course knowing that people will definitely find out so controlling how you tell them can be confidence building.


  3. Robin says:

    Me again.. There is an award for you on my blog.

  4. Christine says:

    First, I love the mad props you give to Craig here. While I still giggle like a maniac when I think of that FB post, I’m glad he’s getting equal coverage on this side of him.

    Now, great question. Hmmmm. You know, I’m not really sure. I remember telling our parents when we sent in the application, and my sister shortly after that… but I don’t know about friends. I think I just dropped it here and there in conversation as was appropriate. People have known for years that this was the way we were going to build our family, so I guess that it was easier since it wasn’t really going to come as a surprise to many of them? Wow – am I NO help or what?!

  5. sue says:

    when we started the process for VN, we waited about 3 months after we sent in our initial application to share with our families and then told friends soon after that.

    after VN closed and we started our SK adoption process, we didn’t tell anyone but our parents and my sister until we had our i-171h in our hands. we just wanted that last piece of paperwork and wanted to only be waiting at the point that we shared. when we shared, we had already been waiting almost 3 months into what would be an 8 month wait to our referral. that way it ended up only being about 5 months of questions from people and 5 months of them “waiting” along with us.

    so I completely understand you wanting to wait. in some ways i wish we would have waited a little longer the first time.

    as for how, i would usually just casually bring it up when someone would ask how we are and what we had been up to. sometimes it was awkward, but i didn’t really care. and yes, we got the questions about why international and why not domestic. i would sometimes be a little ornery and ask them back “why did you decide to have biological kids?” and most people would back off and realize how silly their question was.

    the one other thing that people told me was, “now that you are adopting, you are going to get pregnant.” i would always answer with, “we actually don’t want that to happen, and we are committed to the baby we are adopting.” if i knew them well, i would share that we were actively preventing pregnancy.

    not sure if this helps, but thought i would share our experience. let us know how it goes!

  6. Brandi says:

    Hmmm…good question. If you’re not comfortable telling, then don’t feel the pressure to. I’ve had some friends that have adopted and I never asked them why. I just thought it was a great thing! Yes, some people are going to ask why, but tell them you would rather not go into specifics, but you’re just having trouble conceiving and this was a great choice for you and Craig.

    I can see where the pain of talking about your inability of being able to conceive would be huge. I thought about you today when someone asked me about Tyler. It still brings tears to my eyes when I have to talk about it. Will the pain/guilt ever go away? No. But we learn to live with it and make the best of it.

    Once you have that baby, he/she will change your life for the better. It really won’t matter what questions people ask! Some of it is none of their business!

    Tyler and I send our love!! πŸ™‚

  7. Donna says:

    Thanks for visiting my blog and congrats on officially waiting. The mouse cracked me up. If you look under this Damn House on my blog you can read about my mouse in the house.

  8. Zoe says:

    We’ve been sharing it in a sporadic kind of way. Family and close friends first, then colleagues. Now I tell others here and there, depending on the moment and my mood.

    In some ways, I wish I hadn’t told certain people until much further along because every time they see me/us they ask where the adoption is and there is nothing to say. And when they ask in two months, six months and maybe even 12 months, there will probably still be nothing to say.

    So, I would say to just go with your gut about who to tell and when, and to prepare yourself for the questions because they will come. But as you say, it IS good practice to prepare you for when you’re walking around with your baby! πŸ™‚

  9. Kelly Cole says:

    This is a good question. We told our family and close friends right away, but there are layers of friends that you may tell right away and others – whom you don’t see or talk to very often anymore but who will always be your friends (like old college friends) where it’s a little bit weirder. Do you just call them up out of the blue and tell them? Or wait until it comes up? It can be awkward. I think that we have generally been very open and honest with people about our adoption plans because, frankly, we are so excited about them. And to tell you the truth, we have had GREAT responses from everyone, even those we weren’t so sure about. So, I would guess that your coworker might surprise you in how she reacts….. you never know.

  10. Erin says:

    I think you are right. Either way you will get input the rest of your life about adoption, wanted and unwanted.

    Maybe you haven’t told everyone yet because inside you are still scared it is not going to happen and that is your way of protecting your feelings against questions and unwanted advice.

    I fear even when your child is growing up and grown you all will still be subjected to unwanted comments and advice because sadly there is still ignorance and racsim in this world.

    You will also get a mound of good, no great support and positive vibes.

    Sorry about your co-worker making those comments. Maybe when you tell her your news she will rethink how she feels about race.

    You will find the strength to deal with people when you are looking into your child’s beautiful eyes πŸ˜‰

  11. Jenny says:

    yay for Mr. Mouse being GONE!

    we told our family and close friends right away. we told our family before our application was approved (for Korea). we’re just telling others as we see them. no special phone calls to tell them or anything, but if we run into them, and they ask what we’ve been up to, we tell them. the weirdest thing we get is people that just literally don’t know what to say. i think they just don’t know enough about adoption to have a conversation about it. luckily, most of our friends are other people in Matt’s PhD program and these people are all very open to anything and everything, so they’ve all received the news with excitement. The weirder responses have come from other acquaintances… you will know what to say when the time is right. i’ve found the more confident we are in our “telling approach” the better the reception.

  12. Janet says:

    We, like a lot of people I’m sure, had different groups of people: 1. Those we told RIGHT AWAY when we decided to adopt (our parents); 2. Those we told shortly thereafter (close friends, siblings); 3. Those we told only after receiving our referral (co-workers, more casual friends); and 4. Those who may still not even know. For a while, it got really hard to keep people straight…”Did we tell them or not? … Should we tell them or not? etc…” I felt like I was sneaking around too…or hiding something…but there was just some people I was not really ready to go into all of it with them.

    We also got the “Well, now that you are adopting you’ll FOR SURE get pregnant.” We sometimes just ignored it, other times told them we were committed to our adoption & were not focused on that, and other times told them we were actually doing things to make sure that didn’t happen. I’m sure that last statement led some people to think we were completely nuts.

    Another hard thing I found was trying to control what OTHER people do with the information. I felt like it was OUR information to share…and if we felt like telling someone we hoped they would respect that information and not blab it to the whole world…but you know how that goes. We’d hear from people, “Oh, we heard you are adopting.” Or, “We heard your news.” Then we were forced to talk about it with people we really weren’t ready to share with yet. Well, that’s just how things go.

    Once we got to the referral stage of the journey, it did feel good to tell more people…like I didn’t have to keep track of who KNEW and who DIDN’T know anymore. But…with sharing then came the constant questions about “When?” and “Had we heard anything yet?” This was after we’d already explained how long it would take and why. They’d still ask EVERY time they’d see us…as if things suddenly would have sped up or changed. For those of us “in the know” would laugh at that…speeding up…haha, good one.

    Then, at work…once people knew…my co-workers would ask me if I told my patients about our adoption plans. I did not. I felt that was personal information that they didn’t need to know. I mean…if I were pregnant…eventually the whole world knows. But…I felt I wanted to keep it to myself and not share it with them.

    It is a personal decision in terms of who to tell and when…but that doesn’t mean it is an easy decision. Thanks for posting on this. Good topic!

  13. First of all, I’m glad that the mouse is gone. However, being the animal lover I am, I’m sad to hear it “wasn’t pretty.” But alas…
    Now for your question. We did something really stupid. Our situation was kinda unique: we were waiting to start the process officially until we sold our prior house. It was MISERABLE. We wanted our family, but couldn’t get it going because of a stupid house that wouldn’t sell. So we told our parents and sibilings in December (on xmas morning actually) that “when the Chicago house sells, we will begin the process of adopting a baby.” Of course, they were all thrilled, and we were excited to finally be able to tell them after planning it for over a year. Little did we know, our house wouldn’t sell for another 7 months. Blech. And we asked them all to keep it a secret b/c we didn’t want people starting to ask questions before we had even begun. We knew the wait would be hard enough. Well, my parents kept up their end of the bargain, but the ILs did not and that led to a whole big argument. Little did we know, that was just the beginning of a whole host of issues with those people…
    As for everyone else, we told them once the process was underway.
    And I totally know what you mean about worrying that it still won’t go through and your child won’t come home. I don’t know your perspective exactly, but when VN shut down international adoptions, it was like a punch in the gut. Even after we switched programs, found Olive, and had finished all of our paperwork, I was still paranoid something would go wrong and she wouldn’t be ours… up until the day we had her adoption finalized. SIX months after bringing her home. Unfortunately, that’s one of the tough things about adoption that bio parents never even think of. Who’s gonna steal your newborn baby from the hospital? Or take her away from you 2 months after you bring her home? hopefully no one… but you get my point. Until things are FINAL with adoption, there’s always that fear that something will go wrong. Ugh.
    Hope I’m not being a downer. Just trying to commiserate. πŸ™‚

  14. klarobinson215 says:

    Bye bye mr mouse – no happy returns…
    We didn’t tell many people that we were on the waiting list to start the adoption (we were waiting about 4 months), just our parents and siblings. I started our blog when we started the adoption process, and sent it along to all my friends and family and that was the main notice for them (they don’t follow much any more – but I’m ok with that). Our friends and family were just so happy and supportive that I’m glad I could share it with them.

  15. E says:

    If you happen to see more Mr. Mouses….we swear by the Black and Decker plug-in pest repellent. It’s supposed to emit some sound that mice can’t stand….and it works. We had a serious problem in our previous house and we had tried everything. The plug-ins worked like a charm, but initially they come out even more. Yuck! It says that on the box too.

    As for telling people….in hindsight, a part of me wishes that we didn’t tell people about our match! It’s a lot of pressure! I think I put the pressure on myself. Of course, we wanted to tell our immediate families, but if we were ever to adopt again, I think we might wait even longer to tell them. EVERY time I see my MIL she says, “Are you excited or what?!” Ugh. Everyone has been supportive and happy for us…but it just makes me feel vulnerable. We’re pretty private too.

  16. Leah says:

    I think you need to do whatever is best for you. I had so much different advice around this topic, and my husband and I ended up telling people when we started the application process. We’ve also had some disappointment in the family making area, and we wanted the adoption to feel as real to us and our families as a pregnancy would. Whatever you decide though, will be the best thing for you. πŸ˜€

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s