Soon after M. and I determined that we wanted to adopt and how, we knew we needed to share the news with our family. We were excited, and we wanted their support. But we worried a bit about how they would respond, and who to tell first, and all the usual complexity of sharing big news with loved ones.
Then I struck upon the idea of a presentation over Thanksgiving dinner. The benefits of this unusual method would include spilling the beans to many of them at once and "controlling the message." (Can you tell that I have plenty of practice as a spin doctor?) And heck, I'd been needing to learn PowerPoint anyway.
So we invited all of our guests to plan a "show and tell," something they would enjoy sharing with the group. We encouraged them to be silly or serious, and to bask for a moment in the spotlight. (One note: this was an usual family gathering in that none of the kids would be around, so we could have uninterrupted adult conversation.) It was a great relief that all of the participants were up for it.
M. and I made sure we enjoyed a tasty meal and plenty of good wine before M. got things going by reading an excerpt from the book "1491" about Squanto. My brother-in-law talked about the week he spent following the Tour de France, my sis-in-law explained her new obsession with mahjong, my mom read a poem, everyone had something fun or interesting to share. It was great!
Then came my turn. We hooked up the laptop to the TV and I started my show. There was a gasp and then a cheer when the first slide went up. "Adoption: What I'd Like Our Friends and Family to Know."
I used this very goofy vehicle that evening and on several subsequent occasions with others, to relate our situation, provide some general information about adoption in America today, and to talk about the pro's and con's of the various types of adoption from our perspective. I went on to describe open adoption - something so foreign to most people - and the process that would be involved in bringing our baby home. I concluded with a FAQ section, anticipating many of the questions I thought they'd have (but might not feel comfortable asking) and some notes about what they could do to help.
The presentation turned out to be a great way for me to get out a lot of complex information without comments or questions that would sidetrack. Then we had a candid conversation with everyone expressing their excitement for us! It was a very special evening that I will never forget.
(Unless my plans change) in the next couple of posts I'll share most of the content of that unorthodox presentation...sans all of the fancy PowerPoint special effects with which I dazzled the audience at Thanksgiving, I'm sorry to say.