Falling in love and choosing a life partner is a very personal choice that may be followed with a very public celebration such as an engagement party or wedding. Likewise, when or how a couple decides to conceive a child is a deeply personal decision that often follows with a public birth announcement or baby shower. Like these, and so many of life’s milestones, adoption can be both a private and public affair. So, when is it okay to talk about adoption and when is it not? Well, that depends entirely on you.
The arrival or finalization of your child’s adoption is no less joyous an occasion than any birth and you have every right to shout it from the mountain tops! Or not. In the case of transracial adoptions, your adoption story is highly visible, and you’ll have ample opportunity to share. Or not. Additionally, your adoption story may be full of rainbows, sunshine, and lollipop stories that are easy to share. Or not.
We have found it to be true, in our experience, that the more transparent we are about adoption in more formal contexts, the better we are able to advocate for our children regarding their physical and mental health, as well as, their education.
However, in regard to the general public, it’s all about timing, energy, and motive. There are times I’ve been asked about our adoption journey and I’m more than happy to give an earful of answers, advice, or anecdotes because I have the time and the energy. Some days I have neither of those, but I sense that the person asking is sincere in their motivation, so I’ll make an effort to converse. Then there days, I just want to get checked out of the grocery line, and get my kids home and into bed, so I can plop on the couch and eat the pint of mint chocolate chip ice cream that’s now melting in my cart. Those days, people are just flat out of luck. And that’s okay. I consider it a privilege to share my experiences or take opportunities to advise and educate others about adoption, but I do not consider it an obligation.
When it comes to adoption, like matters of sex, faith, or politics, you should only share when, how much, and with whom you feel comfortable. It is your and your child’s story to tell. Or not.