Connections. They are what make life complete, allowing you to relate to another human being. We all have strong connections with our family, friends, or those we have known a long time. But how can we connect with an expectant mother we haven’t even met? How do we form a bond with someone who is faced with one of the biggest decisions of her life: Whether or not to place her baby for adoption?
Through my experiences with adoption, I have found there are a few important things you can do when you meet with potential birth parents to help foster a strong and lasting relationship.
Be Visible, Be Available In order for someone considering adoption to even find you in the first place, you need to be visible. Be sure you have an inviting adoption profile, where potential birth parents can locate you anytime of the day or night. It’s also a great idea to have a dedicated email address and/or toll-free number to receive these important first contacts. When we were waiting to adopt, many of our connections came this way. Some expectant moms even admitted they were more comfortable calling us first, rather than contacting an attorney or agency. That first phone call or email can help put their minds at ease and make adoption seem less scary and intimidating.
Be Honest, Be Yourself. This is by far the most critical element of a successful adoption connection. Don’t ever feel that you must try to impress an expectant mom or present your life as perfect. Just be yourself. Women considering adoption aren’t looking for the perfect family; they want the right family — someone to love and care for their child and provide what they cannot. What kind of house you live in or what you do for a living is insignificant compared to who you are as a person. Plus, by sharing your true self, you will be able to get a better idea of whether or not you and the expectant mom are compatible, which is vital for a healthy, long-term relationship. I remember being surprised by some of the things that potential birth mothers liked about us. One was excited about our profile picture that showed my husband standing in front of a roller coaster at Cedar Point. She thought it was cool that he liked to ride roller coasters. Another appreciated that my family is Italian and my husband’s grandfather was a farmer because the same things were true of her family. And, our daughter’s birth mother said we reminded her of her aunt and uncle. Things like these make you relatable and help to encourage a bond with someone who could end up choosing you to parent her baby.
Ask Questions. Another way to form a connection with a potential birth parent is to ask questions and get to know her. What are her interests and hobbies? What is her family like? Why is she considering placing her baby for adoption? Remember, this is a person who may ultimately trust you to parent her child. You’ll want to know who she is and whether or not you would be a good match. And naturally, she will want the same from you. Now isn’t the time to be shy or hold back. Give her all the information she needs to help make her choice, and ensure you ask the questions you’re curious about too.
Don’t Pressure. Even when you hit it off or are matched, don’t automatically assume that the expectant mom will place her baby with you. She is going through a very emotional time and is faced with a heart-wrenching decision. The best thing you can do is to be supportive. Be there for her if she wants to talk, cry, or just get to know you more. Don’t pressure her for a decision or make her feel guilty if she is having second thoughts. Let her know you understand. After all, this isn’t about you; it’s about what’s right for her and her child. The best adoption connections come from a willingness to work together for the child’s well-being and a mutual understanding that every placement is both a loss and a gain.