Way back when we first started our adoption paperwork, we didn't tell anyone. It was a few months later when we asked our 2 closest friends to write reference letters. They were both thrilled and excited for us. It was easy and exciting to tell them our news, and they both said they were honored to write letters on our behalf.
Connecticut has a weird requirement that 1 reference letter come from a family member. We decided we'd ask my brother and SIL to write a letter for us. For some reason, it was a little more nerve-wracking than to tell our friends.
As an aside, I'm going to tell a funny story about my brother and SIL that made it much easier to tell them about our adoption plans. I'll get back to my original point shortly. One day last spring, my brother sent me an e-mail in the middle of a weekday. He said, "Is _____ still your phone number? I called and called and no one answered." I wrote back to him right away and said that it was, but I hadn't answered because my phone was upstairs and I was downstairs. He wrote back and said he'd call again in 5 minutes, but he really needed to talk to me. Of course, I spent the next few minutes with my heart pounding, absolutely convinced something was wrong. We don't call each other that much, let alone at 1 PM on a Tuesday. So swirling in my mind was death, divorce, destruction, something awful.
So the phone rings a few minutes later, and my brother said, "Don't worry. Nothing's wrong." and he proceeded to tell me that the reason for his call is that he and my SIL have just begun the process to adopt! And that their agency requires family information, so he wanted us to help him fill in the paperwork that would pertain to us.
Always composed, (NOT!) I crack up laughing and say, "Wait, you're adopting?"
"Yes," my brother said.
"Well no $@$!" I respond, "Us too! And we need your help to fill out our paperwork too!"
Obviously, we both agreed to fill out paperwork for each other. We laughed, and still laugh that we told each other about our respective adoptions on the same day. I love that that's part of our children's adoption stories. I love that our children will have cousins who were adopted. Even though they'll have very different adoption stories, they'll have adoptions in common when they won't share common DNA and genes.
I'm getting off track though. Back to my original story. So my brother and SIL's agency made them fill out paperwork about each member of their families. They told everyone in their families very early in their process. We didn't. For a long time, we didn't know from where we'd be adopting, and it changed several times before we decided to do a domestic adoption. We didn't want to tell people one thing and then change it shortly thereafter. We knew it would take a long time, we didn't want to answer a lot of questions when the answer was just going to be, "I have no idea. No, really, we don't know." So we didn't tell anyone except our three references.
Fast forward to Thanksgiving, and we told my brothers and my dad. At Christmas we were going to tell Mister's family, but somehow the conversation never happened.
So one side of the family doesn't know, Facebook definitely doesn't know, and any friends outside of those 2 sets of friends who wrote our letters don't know. Or so I thought....
Our old friend who recently reappeared in our lives knows. I told him way back in 2007 that we would adopt someday, and I think he may have understood that to mean that we had started the process back then. Shortly after he and I e-mailed about adoption in 2007, he e-mailed Mister to congratulate him on adopting. Mister was like, "Huh? What?!" So I assume that he probably asked Mister as they've talked more recently, knowing that it was something that we were talking about 3 years ago. He asked Mister last weekend on the phone how it is going and what's next in the process. So he's supportive, he cares, he's happy for us. Which is really how everyone has been that we've told.
No one's said anything rude or annoying or asked intrusive questions. Which is not too surprising, since only about 10 people know, and 5 of the 10 are family! But still. It's all those other people who don't know. I don't really know how to handle them.
I asked some people on an adoption forum once, and so many people said they told early, wished they hadn't told, and had to deal with months or years of annoying questions. Some other people said that they didn't tell at all, not even family, until they were traveling to their child. Some people said they waited until they were home with the baby. No one was mad that they hadn't been told because how could you be mad when you're playing with a baby.
But I can't help feeling like I'm keeping a big secret. It feels weird to tell people now, because really, there hasn't been any news to tell. Yet, I feel like if I tell people when we're matched, or when we're home with a baby, that might be too shocking. I don't know.
I guess if I were pregnant, there'd be all kinds of people - people we'd tell when we were TTC, people we'd tell early in the pregnancy, people we would tell later, and then people who would just see me and figure it out. Then there would be people we hadn't seen in a long time and they'd see us in a year with a baby. I get that. The difference is the timeline. If I were pregnant now, while I wouldn't be 100% confident that I'd have a baby born in the fall, I'd have a rough timeline in mind. For this adoption, I have no rough timeline in mind. Maybe sometime within the next 3 years. Maybe. But that's kind of a lame timeline.
So for those of you who have adopted, when did you tell? How did people respond? Have you had unexpected annoying or intrusive questions and comments? Also, if you told some people and not others, how seriously did they guard your secret? I worry that someone might tell someone that I didn't want to.