When you announced your plans to adopt again, were you met with congratulations and excitement or some variation of “Are you sure you want to adopt again?” Do you think the response would be different if you announced a second or third pregnancy?
When this question was posted on the Creating a Family Facebook Support Group, in addition to a few congratulations, our community reported hearing the following:
- Are you sure you’re ready to adopt again?
- Can you really afford another adoption?
- Why tempt fate by doing it again?
- It was such a hassle the first time, why throw yourself into that again?
- You own your own business –it’s not a guaranteed income, and you won’t be able to dedicate as much time to your business.
- My two friends are pregnant with their second, and everyone is so excited. We are adopting a second time, and no one really even acknowledges it.
- Can you really cope with two? You need to make sure you’re sure before you go ahead.
- Should you adopt again so soon?!? (The family was adopting a second child born 14 months later from the same birth mother.)
Dealing with Busybodies
Some people think they have the right to have an opinion on how other people live their lives, and more important, they think they have the right to voice that opinion. Maybe they are judgmental by nature or maybe they think they are omnipotent, but for whatever reason, people have opinions about things that simply aren’t their business. Nowhere is this truer than in family building.
Lots of people think they know best how we should create our families. Without a doubt, they know you should stay in fertility treatment because this next cycle is bound to work. Or they know you should “just adopt”. They know that your children should be spaced two years apart (or is four years the optimum spacing). Heaven help you if you decide to adopt a sibling group or a child with special needs. “Are you crazy!!”
I have no idea what it is about family building that brings out the busybodies, but it does. Everyone seems to be an expert regardless of how little they know.
Not Limited to Adoption
I don’t think this “sticking your nose into someone else’s business” is limited to adoption. I suspect plenty of people have opinions about pregnancies that they think can’t be afforded or are too soon or too many, but they don’t say anything because it’s a done deal. The die has been cast so to speak. With adoption, they still feel like they can change your mind, so they feel free to share.
Lack of Understanding of Adoption
I think this freedom to give advice also reflects a lack of understanding about adoption and how to talk about adoption. People don’t understand how adoption “works”. When is it a sure thing? When is the child really yours? What is “wrong with the kids” or birth parents? This lack of understanding can lead people to question your decision.
Lack of a Canned Response
People in our lives often don’t have the socially prescribed words – a canned response – to respond when told that someone is adopting again. The socially acceptable response to “I’m pregnant” is “Congratulations.” Period. Not:
“Are you sure?” or
“Have you considered the alternatives?” or
“What in heaven’s name were you thinking!”
Simply: congratulations. Society doesn’t have an ingrained response to “I’m adopting”. This lack of a canned response opens the door to a lot of “open mouth, insert foot” moments.
Did you find a lack of response or a negative response when you announced you were adopting a second child or a first child?First published in 2014; Updated in 2018
Image credit:Will Smith (confused); Cher Amio (busybody); arbyreed (nosey)