If you are one of the thousands of homes that have welcomed a new child into your family, no doubt you're busier than you've ever been, but this is a monumental event--spread the news! Whether by quiet conversation, a dose of humor or a religious and reverent tone, just as there isn't one way to bring a child into the home, there isn't one way to announce an adoption. It depends on your child and your audience.
Gather visual materials that will support your announcement when you explain your news to young children. A photo album, scrap book or picture book about adoption can be useful tools for explaining what adoption means. Expect direct questions from children and answer calmly and as honestly as you feel comfortable. Above all else, keep your adopted child's feelings and integrity in mind. An adopted child who is old enough to interact with others might not want his peers to know about his personal life.
Announce your adoption in writing. The hassle-free option: consult a stationery store that routinely makes birth announcements for classy, custom adoption announcements that list your child's name, adoption finalization date and perhaps a favorite quote, religious passage or phrase. Feeling creative? Make a whimsical collage using photos of your family, and add positive, celebratory language such as "One son was so much fun, we thought we'd have another one!" or "She may be small when it comes to size, but she's the queen of the cutie pies." Make multiple copies and stick 'em in the mail.
Surprise family and friends with a more cryptic message. Give a children's book about adoption in a large envelope that says simply, "Guess What!" or send a matching pair of T shirts proudly displaying a photo of your family to Grandma and Grandpa. Have a photo of your new family made into a puzzle at a copy shop or stationery store and send the pieces in a gift wrapped box.
- Expect mixed reviews. Some will be unconditionally supportive, and what a blessing--keep those people on speed dial. But others' support will be tentative. They'll want to know more first: Did you struggle with infertility? Was he a foster child? What do your other kids think? Does it worry you that she doesn't look anything like you? Where is his real mother? And yes, they will expect answers. But guess what--your obligation isn't to their curiosity. It's to your family. In time, you'll come up with a short list of canned responses and you'll walk with your head held high and move on.
- Comstock/Comstock/Getty Images