Editors note: This is a guest post by Caroline, a freelance writer based in Western Canada.
Across the globe, 17.9 million orphans are waiting for permanent homes. In 2011, the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute indicates 9,000 U.S. families made the decision to open their hearts and homes to those children through adoption. If you’ve decided that you want to make a dent in that gap by becoming an adoptive parent, you are in for an exciting journey.
Yet, this journey can be long. The Independent Adoption Center indicates that it takes an average of 14.8 months to adopt an infant. International adoptions or adoptions through the foster care system can take even longer. You’re going to want the support of family and friends, and you’re going to want to share your excitement. These five ideas will help you announce your intentions to adopt creatively.
You’ve seen the big brother and big sister shirts your friends used to announce their pregnancies. Instead, announce your plans to adopt with an adoption T-shirt. The “I’m Paper Pregnant” T-shirt from Cafepress is a great way to show your family your plans in a fun way. Wear it to your next family gathering as a surprise, and see how long it takes for the congrats (and questions) to start rolling in.
Adoption Photo Shoot
You’ve seen the photo shoots announcing a pregnancy or revealing a gender. You can do the same thing to announce your plans to adopt. Post these pictures on your social media pages, email them to friends and family or use them as your holiday card to officially make the announcement.
For your photo shoot, make framed signs or chalk board drawings with phrases like “Growing in my Heart,” “Waiting on Baby” or “Parents to be, just not sure when.” Use many of the same poses naturally expecting parents use, like hands forming a heart over mom’s tummy. If you’re adopting internationally, place a globe in mom’s lap to take the place of the pregnant belly, and have her form the heart over it as expectant moms do over their baby bumps.
If family lives far from you, send them adoption cards instead of birth announcements. With a service like Minted printing you can create custom cards that show your intentions or welcome your adopted little one to the family. If you’ve had a professional adoption photo shoot done, use one of those images as your picture.
Do you send out a yearly newsletter around the holiday season? Add an announcement at the end, such as “And for our big news, we’re planning to adopt a child! Bear with us as we enter into this long and emotionally challenging process. We’d be happy to answer any questions you might have about it!”
If your adoption journey is plagued by unknowns, you may want to wait to make the big announcement to the extended family until you have a referral in hand. In this case, use the child’s information to create a photo storybook. You can explain your desire to adopt, outline some of the process you’ve been through, showcase the room you have waiting for your child and introduce your pending adoptive child.