I'm sure in retrospect I may wonder why I ever wondered when to go public about adopting. Please note "going public" is not intended to imply that this was in anyway a secret.
In the earliest of stages, I was excited to tell everyone! Filling out the "applications" all seemed so straight forward and final... as if the next step we could be announcing when I'd be bringing baby home. That excitement never went away.... it just got... BURIED ...under piles of paperwork, essays, books to read and report on, interviews and more paperwork with notaries.
Make no mistake. Adoption is HARD. VERY HARD. Long before the difficulties and joys of parenthood, those making the attempt of being approved to raise a child, are struggling to keep life moving under the weight of paperwork.
Throughout the process, you need friends and colleagues to write your employment letters, bank letters, referral letters, doctors notes (literally... you need a doctors note... just like high school sports!), notaries, shoulders to cry on.. etc. So inevitably, people find out. Sometimes they bring up the subject when you are unprepared to answer. Sometimes peoples feelings get hurt because someone knew before them. Sometimes people react... oddly.. uncomfortably, and the perceived inequity of it all.
So today... a month and a half after I was officially approved and "waiting" .. I went public. I sent out a blanket email to the closest family and friends (family). I posted a shorter message to some of my facebook friends. Below is the email I sent to the closest of family and friends:
"FINALLY. After much paperwork and further procrastination, it's time I include everyone all at once...
I am going to be adopting a child!
Many of you have been somewhat aware. To others, this is completely new information. I never intended to exclude anyone. Even those of you, who have been involved in the process, have certainly sensed my inability to coherently discuss the details. Please forgive. The tedious bureaucratic details have kept my brain locked in the never ending maze of minutia.
So here are some details to get everyone up to speed:... I'm adopting from Ethiopia. My home study is officially approved for a child of either gender 0-5years: My placing agency (CHSFS in Minnesota) will try to match me with a child up to 2 and a half years old. I do not know when we'll meet my little one. The wait time can be anywhere from 6-18 months at this point. Yes I will need to travel. Required travel time is one week to Addis Ababa, which is the capital city of Ethiopia and the African Union. I expect to travel a week or so early for extra time in Ethiopia. There are some very interesting things that will happen while I'm there, but I'll write more about that later. There are a reasonably good number of Ethiopian adoptive families here in Maine and in New England some of whom I've met.
I'm learning more everyday. As I research, read, and talk with other families, it allows me to integrate this new information into my own life, beliefs, faith, and reality. I'm learning more about Ethiopia, parenting an adopted child, caring for the skin & hair of my African child, raising my little brown child in this snowy white state, the travel to Ethiopia, attachment techniques, identity games, children's books, ethnicities, grieving, language, Ethiopia's rich history in religion, society and the human race, being a mom... ya da yada yada.
I'm inviting you to follow along for bits of this adventure. This adoption journey is strange, unknown & foreign to most of us. We are accustomed to family growth through pregnancy and marriage. Through this, I'll chronicle the progress, keep you all informed, me sane, each of us excited and prepared to welcome a new family member. I will not be the last person you know and care about who will be adopting. I'd like to think that the little insight we'll gain here, we'll learn how we can offer support & understanding to other adopting families.
Some of my dearest friends are uniquely qualified to be my guides on this path and their inclusion is critical.
So what is next for me? The next steps are to simply wait. In the meantime prepare as much as possible, but... continue to wait. The big milestone you'll want to know about is the REFERRAL or Match or Proposal. (being perpetually single, I'm favoring the term proposal...) This just means that I've been matched with a child. There is much to do and much time to do it in, between now and Proposal/Referral. After proposal there is still court and travel to wait for. But for now... we just wait.
What's next for you? Every week or so I'll generate an email to you so you can follow along. I'm sure you'll have lots of questions. Please feel free to post them or email them so that everyone can be on the same page. Please feel free to forward this email on to whoever I may have left out (or not had their email). If they want to be included in the updates let me know the email address also. (If you do not want to get these, let me know and I'll remove your name from the list.) I have learned a lot so far but I'm still on the ropes figuring it out as I go.
Some of the things I've learned and will post are difficult to hear, most are inspiring, but always provide insight. Please know in advance, that my enthusiasm and interest in some of these areas are not meant, in anyway, to try and convince you or others that you should adopt a child or support a charity for Ethiopia. (Of course I'm a non profit fundraiser so I do want you to support charity... but that's beside the point today...). You are my family and this is simply me offering you the opportunity to be as connected to my children and this adoption process as you choose.
Off we go!!"