The Announcement

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Melika and Ahmad and Nancy and Fred are two couples I know well. Both families have been hoping for a child for years, and they've been working actively on that. Melika and Ahmad have gotten pregnant several times, but they've been unable to carry a pregnancy to term. Nancy and Fred have never been pregnant, despite medications and invasive procedures.

Margaret is a member of my church, 35 and single and childless, despite the fact that she'd like to have found a partner and married and had babies by now. Sam and Stewart are gay and have lived together in a committed relationship for ten years. For both Marcia and Erv, who are in their late 40s, theirs is a second marriage, but Marcia had no children. Ruben and Anita have given birth to three healthy children but have room in their hearts and their home for more.

What these folks have in common is that the reaction of their families to their decision to adopt a child has surprised and disappointed them. They expected joy! They expected support! What they got (at least what they feel they heard) was shock and fear and apparent disapproval.

"Oh, no, honey. Why would you want to do that?" followed by
"Just keep trying, you'll get pregnant again." or
"I read about this great doctor over in Big City. Have you thought about seeing him?" or
"But you're not married! Children need two parents. You can't do this alone." or
"You know we love Sam/Stewart, darling, but your life is hard enough. How could you do that to a child?" or
"At your age? You were out of college and Mom and I were almost ready to retire when we were your age! You can't start parenting now!"
"But you have such a lovely family! Why would you want to risk exposing our grandchildren to the dangers of adopting one of those kids?" or
"Adopting! Why everybody knows that adopted kids have all kinds of problems. What kind of person gives away his own flesh and blood?"
"To be honest, son, I'm not sure I can love somebody else's child."

(Adoption Is A Family Affair!) is a book for the parents as well as the brothers and sisters and close friends of people like Melika and Ahmad, Nancy and Fred, Sam and Stewart, Marcia and Erv, Ruben and Anita, and Margaret. These would-be adopters love you - their families - and want to share their joy as they build a family. They know that it's hard for you to understand something you've not experienced before. They understand that adoption is not something most people think of as a "first choice" route to parenthood. With this book, they are hoping that you'll get the facts, learn what you need to know , and deal with your fears and reservations so that you can embrace their decision wholeheartedly and make the leap of faith that they made into a whole new world. This is a world, after all, that is going to include your loved one's children. With you or without you, these children will arrive, and they are coming through adoption.

A word of explanation: most of the time this book will appear to "speak to" the adopter's parents (a.k.a. grandparents-to-be). I've written that way for the sake of simplicity. What sounds as if it is being written only to the parents of prospective adopters is meant just as fully for the brothers and sisters and good friends and co-workers of those same adopters. My own experience and the experience of literally thousands of adopters I've known in the past twenty-five years tells me that "the older generation" has no corner on snafus, blunders, misunderstandings, and outright insults when it comes to their interactions with those who build their families by adoption. The problem is not age, but ignorance. Everybody in the family has some learning to do, so let's get to it!

If you have enjoyed this excerpt from Adoption Is A Family Affair!, you will enjoy the book itself. For more information, visit http://shop.adoption.com/cgi-bin/store2/ADP00015.html.
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