Dear Hopeful Adoptive Parent,
Perhaps you have no children yet running the halls of your home and have turned to adoption to start your family. Or maybe you have adopted a couple of times already or have a few biological kids and are hoping to add a sibling to the mix by adopting. Whatever your back story is, you are likely reading this because you are hoping to adopt and in the process of adopting now. I won’t pretend to know the emotions you are feeling or exactly what the experience and process has been like up to this point for you. I’ve never adopted or been an adoptive parent, so I can’t pretend to know that side of the adoption triad. However, I am a birthmother and I do know that side of the triad. I know what it’s like to be an expectant mother in an unplanned pregnancy. I know what it’s like to be a birthmother. So, I want to share a little bit from my point of view and share some advice with you as you are waiting for your baby.
First and foremost, know that she loves her baby unconditionally, just as you love your children or future children unconditionally. In a perfect world, she wouldn’t need to choose adoption. But we don’t live in a perfect world, and sometimes an expectant mother feels like adoption is her best or maybe even her only option. But just because she’s choosing adoption or experiencing an unplanned or crisis pregnancy, doesn’t mean she doesn’t want or love her baby any less than any other Mother. Being a good Mother is about putting your child’s need above your own. She is a good Mother.
Just as you are probably scared and nervous about this process, she is scared too. She’s scared that she isn’t strong enough to follow through. She’s terrified of the unknown, which includes her future and her baby’s future too. She’s worried that her baby, her family, any other children she currently has or will have in the future may resent her for this decision. She’s scared of getting attached to her baby and maybe even you and your family.
She’s a person with feelings and emotions, just as you are. Get to know her as much as she’ll let you. She’s more than just a vessel for that baby or a means to get a baby. Love her for who she is, not just what she can give you.
Just as you expect her to be open and honest with you, do the same. You are building the foundation for your relationship, and trust is important. Don’t make promises you can’t follow through with or say things you don’t mean.
If you are planning an open adoption, think about how you see this relationship in one year, five years, ten years, and even twenty years down the road. Keep in mind that you are currently cultivating a relationship for years to come. While the baby is still little, her relationship with the child goes through you, so make it as comfortable as possible for her to come to you when need be.
Think about who is involved in her life now. Does she have other children or an involved partner? Does she have a close relationship with her parents or siblings? Acknowledge and consider involving them as well. This is not only a loss for her, but a loss for her children, her parents, and her family as well.
Also, know that it’s not your job to fix her life. As much as you’ll grow to love her and as much as you want to make her life as easy as possible, it’s not your job to fix everything. Support her and be there for her, but also create boundaries and stick to those boundaries.
Wishing you peace as you wait for your child,