In 2002, I began to chronicle my adoption journey and created Forever Parents, a supportive online community for adoptive and waiting parents. Over the next year, we grew our support forums to include an adoption shop and a blog. Forever Parents stayed active, helping thousands of people for over ten years. I’m in the process of updating and moving all the posts to this blog, in the Forever Parents section. This post was originally published on May 25, 2008.
We were very lucky that our family and friends were very supportive when we were going through our adoption. It really helped us to know the people in our life were behind our choice and they were very interested in the process.
I know others don’t always have the support they need or want so I asked the members at our adoption forums for their thoughts.
- “Absolutely! Our family and friends couldn’t have been MORE supportive. Our church really supported us emotionally through the failed placement we endured nine months before the girls were born, too. We’ve been supremely blessed”.
- “I never felt very supported or even understood. There was no support or understanding during the miscarriages or the infertility treatments. People’s expectations were unrealistic, unhelpful and even insulting. When the first opportunity to adopt presented itself, there were more unrealistic, unkind, unhelpful things said to us. The child we were adopting was biracial, and unkind things were said about that as well. The adoption fell through when the baby was born early and died. For us, it was another loss. We were expecting to be that baby’s parents, and were excited and feeling attached and hopeful. No one offered sympathy over the loss. Some even expressed relief as they were not comfortable with the situation “we had gotten ourselves into”.There were two more failed adoptions that received no support. The last one was an adoption within the family. The mother decided to parent two weeks before the baby was due. We were devastated. And we were ignored. There was still a new baby born into the family and everyone celebrated. We could not and they didn’t understand why we were so hurt and angry. We had given up on domestic adoption and instead started to focus on international adoption. When we mentioned that we were interested in Asia, we received more insulting comments. We were determined to build our family in this way and were prepared to distance ourselves from anyone who “wasn’t comfortable” with our family.It was only when the photos of the babies arrived, that hearts and minds started to change. One person who had made one of the most insulting comments as we began our international adoption was the first to greet us at the airport when we returned home and snatched one of the babies out of our arms. I believe it was the children themselves who changed everyone’s opinion about adoption. Since bringing them home, we have received much support from friends, family, and community, but it was a long and difficult and frustrating journey to get there”.
- “Most of my family and friends were extremely supportive. The one notable exception was my grandparents, who feared that we would be ripped off and then given a sickly baby. They fell in love with my son the moment they met him, and he rapidly became one of their favorite great-grandchildren”.
- “For the first two babies adopted internationally? I suppose we had ‘some’. You have to know that I’m the youngest, and no one in the close family had ever adopted before. Soooo, when we were living overseas, most of the family only knew bits and pieces of what was going on in terms of ‘where we were at, etc’.When the babies arrived, there was excitement from grandparents and great-grandparents. Still, we hadn’t gone home yet, so it was through letters, phone calls. When we adopted the older children. Very little support. Sadly, to some extent, we’ve had to ‘eat crow’ on that concept of older child adoptions.And now….well, while some friends are very supportive…and our church family IS supportive (many adoptive families there, as well as older families too)…….our families lack for substantial support. Their feelings now are ‘you’re too old and you have your hands full enough!’ Maybe. But, when you gotta do what your heart says to do…..I’m not sure that’s wrong, KWIM?
But I’ll tell you what their attitude HAS taught me. When I know someone is trying to adopt; when I know someone has received THEIR baby—-I can’t be happy enough for them! I ALWAYS remember how much I wished our families and friends would have ALL been supportive…and so, I figure if few others are going to be THRILLED for them, I certainly will BE ONE!!! Adoption is just too tough to go through, and too wonderful NOT to be supportive of anyone who really wants another baby/child to love and have as their own”.
- “We had support when we adopted our first child from family and friends. When we adopted our second child, we only received support from friends. The family told us not to do it again. I’m glad I didn’t listen”.
- “Our families were exceptionally supportive of our first two adoptions. They just wanted us to be parents. We have some adoption in our extended family so it was not a foreign concept. After the first two, they thought we were nuts. They knew how difficult our second baby was and didn’t think we could cope with another. Once N (our third) was home, they knew he was meant to be. But when we even mentioned that we may take his sibling they were outraged..I do have some health concerns so I kind of understand but I told my mom she better be careful of what she said b/c she could be talking about their future grandchild. All of them are 100% accepting of our children now, but they still think we’re crazy! What do they know…lol”.