Our Adoption Story Part 8--Telling the Family

At Christmastime 2007, we decided to let our families in on the good news.  Anyone who has ever adopted knows what that feels like.  You suspect that some family members will be elated, others will think you're crazy, some just won't get it, and most will say some hurtful things either on accident or on purpose.  We got all of the above.

My encouragement to you, if you are adopting and have not yet shared the news with your friends and family is this: don't take anything they say personally.  Know that they love you more than this child whom they do not yet know.  They want to protect you and keep you from the harm of the ups and downs of adoption and adoptive parenting.  Anything they say that is less than wholly enthusiastic, will likely disappoint you.  Know that their words of caution or discouragement come from a place of naive love.

If you are someone who is told by a friend or a relative that they are adopting, my encouragement to you is this: only say things that are completely encouraging and supportive.  Trust me, the adoptive parents have heard more than their fair share of horror stories and they don't need to be reminded by you that this move may lead to future pain and discomfort.  Cheer for them with all your hearts.  They will need every word of encouragement to get through the process.  And then, when it is indeed hard--because it will be, because parenting anyone is--encourage them some more.

We sent all of our family members photo albums for Christmas.  On the last page we included a picture of each Mark and I with Deer on our trips to Thailand that year.  The caption below the two pictures said, "Last but not least, we believe God has called us to be Deer's forever family.  Please pray for us and rejoice with us in the possibility of having four sweet, brown-eyed girls!"

Hearing the squeals of delight from Colorado was truly fun.  Sifting through the slightly negative feedback was a bit painful, but used by God to drive us into greater dependency on Him.  Like I said, we received the whole spectrum of feedback from our friends and family.  It was a heavy burden to bear and we wanted to share the load and the joy of this faith journey that God had called us on.