Your phone rings. It’s the call you’ve been waiting for: An expectant mother considering adoption would like to meet with you. Your heart races with both excitement and fear. Could this be it? Will this meeting lead to a match? And even more important, what will you say to her?
A meeting with a potential birth mom can be very nerve-wracking. Much like a job interview, you’ll want to make a good impression, but it’s also important to be honest and be yourself. The best matches — and most successful adoptions — happen when there is a natural connection or common ground between birth parents and adoptive parents. To find out if you click, you’ll need to spend some time getting to know each other and what you both want and expect from the adoption. You can best accomplish this by asking lots of questions and giving her the opportunity to do so as well. Here are a few key questions to help you prepare for this important (and possibly life-changing) meeting:
1. Why are you considering adoption? Expectant parents who explore adoption often have life circumstances or challenges that make parenting difficult. Talking about the reasons why they are considering adoption is a crucial part of the decision-making process. It will also help you better understand the expectant mom and what she may need from you.
2. Is the baby’s father supportive of adoption? Is your family supportive of adoption? This is an important one and could determine whether or not the adoption will pan out. If the baby’s father is against the adoption, he may decide not to sign. Also, if the extended family isn’t supportive of an adoption plan, they may step up to offer help and encourage the expectant mom to parent. You’ll want to know if a potential situation is risky or unlikely to work out, so you can be prepared to move on.
3. What are you looking for in adoptive parents? The answer to this question will help determine if you may be a good match. If she is looking for a stay-at-home mom and you plan to work full-time, then you likely aren’t the right family for this child. Every birth parent wants to be sure that their child is not only going to a good home, but one that aligns with her hopes, dreams, and expectations for her baby’s future. Similarly, adoptive families will want to be certain that there aren’t any serious disagreements or differences that will make the adoption relationship difficult or lead to misunderstandings or disappointments in the future. Most adoptions today have some degree of openness, so it’s even more crucial that all parties are on the same page.
4. Are you working with an adoption agency or attorney? In order for any adoption to happen, there needs to be an ethical professional involved. This is necessary for both legal purposes and to ensure that an expectant parent receives the counseling and support she needs to make the decision that is right for her. If she doesn’t yet have an adoption professional, you can give her contact information for yours or offer suggestions of where to find one. Any expectant mom who is serious about adoption will want to get in touch with a professional as soon as possible, if she hasn’t done so already. From my experience, those who drag their feet or seem reluctant to contact an agency are often not likely to follow through with an adoption plan or may even be trying to scam you.
5. Do you have questions for us? Encourage her to get to know you better too. She will likely be nervous and may feel awkward or uncomfortable asking you questions. The more she knows about you, the more it will put her mind at ease. She’ll also be able to better assess whether or not you are the right family for her child.
Remember that every decision is about what is best for the child. Never pressure an expectant mom and let her know that you will understand and support any choice she makes. If she does proceed with an adoption plan, continued openness, honesty, and good communication will lead to the best outcome for everyone involved.