When someone announces he/she is adopting, it's a BIG deal.
Adopting is a huge step in a person's life. It's scary, it's confusing, it's bittersweet, it's exciting.
I dare to make this comparison: it's like learning you are pregnant (or that you impregnated someone, for any male readers out there).
There are so many unknowns, so few certainties.
So, here's what you can say when someone drops the adoption news on you:
---"How exciting! I'm so happy for you!"
---"I can't wait to plan your baby/child shower!"
---"That's great! What do you anticipate that journey looking like?"
---"You will be a great mom/dad."
What not to say:
---"Why? Can you not have your own kids?" (the adoptist)
---"Have you tried IVF?" (the adoptist, round II)
---"Are you sure that's a good decision?" (the pessimist)
---"Isn't adoption really expensive?" (the nosy)
---"Don't all adopted kids have problems?" (the worrywart)
---"You'll get pregnant as soon as you adopt, I bet!" (the optimist)
---"Aren't you scared the birth parents will try to get the child back?" (the pessimist, round II)
---"Oh! Any child would be so lucky to have you as his/her mom/dad!" or "There are so many needy children who need good homes!" (the stereotype-lover)
---"Awww! Are you going to get one of those little Black babies from Africa?" (the optimist-gone-wrong)
Let me assure you:
---I don't know of a single adoptive parent who didn't/doesn't take adoption seriously.
---I don't know of a single adoptive parent who hasn't struggled in some way in their journey to choosing adoption, adopting, or parenting adopted children.
---Adoption isn't second-best to having biological kids. It's just different.
---Adoption is life-altering, but it can be wonderfully rewarding.
Before you speak,
take a deep breath
and think about how you would want someone to respond to your pregnancy news...
What if you announced a pregnancy, for example.
It'd be best for your family member/friend/neighbor/co-worker not to cite stats on how many pregnancies end in miscarriage, or how likely it is that the child could have a certain disease or condition, or make comments about unsightly stretch marks and weight gain, or talk about how horrible childbirth is. It's best not to ask the nitty-gritty details of the night conception occurred or ask if the pregnancy was intentional or not. It's best not to ask about the person's readiness to become a parent.
So when someone you know announces he/she is adopting:
Say something nice, non-threatening, and non-nosy.
If he/she wants you to know more, you'll know.
If you want to know more, do some research on your own, or ask the person for resources.
Adoption is a difficult journey, and adoptive parents need encouragement.