How to tell your family you’re adopting

Here’s something I wish I had known three years ago: As much as you want it to be, announcing your decision to adopt will not be like announcing a pregnancy. Not everyone will be happy for you. So, if you’ve decided to adopt, here are some things you might want to consider before sharing the good news.

1. Don’t make your announcement in a public place.

2. Don’t assume that your audience will be happy.

3. Don’t wait until you’ve made your final decision before you’ve told everyone.

The first person I told about our decision to adopt was my sister, Aunt LM. I told her because I thought she would be completely supportive – and I was right. But next, I decided to tell my mother, Grandma G, and my stepfather, PN, and unfortunately, I decided to tell them in a restaurant. And, I assumed that not only would this information be expected but that it would be good news. And lastly, this was the first time I had mentioned adoption to them at all.

If you’re guessing it didn’t go well, you’re right. If I had to do it over again, I would introduce the concept gradually, I would have told them in the privacy of my own home, and I would have realized that they might not accept it as joyously as I would have liked.

Grandma G and I experienced a brief rift in our relationship over this. Thankfully, she became a devoted grandmother and she eventually forgave me for my thoughtlessness.

If you haven’t told your family/friends yet, please take my three tips into consideration so you don’t make the same mistakes that I did.

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2 thoughts on “How to tell your family you’re adopting

  1. Hi there – I’ve just discovered your blog and I wish I’d read this post a few weeks back. My mother has reacted very poorly to my decision to adopt and I should have prepared myself and her a little better before dropping the news into a casual telephone conversation (this is vaguely excusable because we live in different states). The big takeaway for me has been that it was all brand new information for her, and thus pretty dificult to process and her reaction was pretty ‘gut’ based. She wasn’t/isn’t gifted with all of the knowledge I have because she hasn’t been doing all of the researching and thinking like I have. It was still pretty confrotning and quite a shock for me, and we haven’t discussed it since, but since adoption involves so much darn waiting, she’ll have a loooong time to process it before she becomes a Grandma! 🙂

    Enjoying your blog so far. I am applying for foster care adoption as a single woman in Australia *waves hello*

    • shannon2818 says:

      Jess, thanks for reading and sharing your story. As you know, my family had a hard time with the news too, but they came around – especially once they got to know the kids. Everyone loves them and it turned out even better than I expected. I hope it works out this way for you too – I understand how it feels. Keep me posted on how it’s going for you – good luck!

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