The day you’ve been waiting for has arrived: a potential birth mom is interested in you and wants to meet. No doubt you’re feeling a variety of emotions: excited, nervous, happy, and apprehensive. How do you make sure your meeting goes well? Here are some tips that can definitely make a difference.
• Admit You’re Nervous. When my husband and I met with a potential birth mom for the first time during the adoption process, we told her right away that we were nervous. She smiled and replied that she was too. Adoption is a big, life-altering event for everyone. Admitting that you feel nervous will help to break the ice and make the meeting go more smoothly.
• Ask Questions. Don’t be afraid to ask the expectant mom questions. Why is she considering adoption? What are her hobbies and interests? What type of adoption is she looking for – open, semi-open or closed? Asking these questions will help you to get to know her better and determine if the potential situation is a good match.
• Be Honest. This one sounds obvious, but you’d be surprised at how many prospective adoptive parents are afraid of exposing their flaws and fears. They want to make a good impression and present themselves as ideal parents. Remember she doesn’t expect you to be perfect. She will appreciate your honesty and genuineness. Don’t feel you have to hide anything in order to impress her. By always being upfront about who you are and what you expect, you’ll be more likely to find the right match.
• Meet in a Neutral Location. Don’t meet in your home or hers. It’s too personal and you don’t know each other well enough to put yourself in that situation. Instead, make sure you choose a neutral location, such as your adoption agency, attorney’s office, or a restaurant. Your social worker or attorney may or may not be present at the meeting. It’s fine either way, as long as they are aware of your meeting.
• Invite Her to Ask Questions About You. Sometimes an expectant mother may feel uncomfortable asking you questions. So if she seems a bit reticent, feel free to encourage her. Simply saying: “What would you like to know about us?” can help her feel more comfortable and get the conversation going.
• Be Empathic and Understanding. Remember what a difficult and painful decision this is for a potential birth mom. She will most likely be feeling conflicted, emotional, nervous, and overwhelmed about the big choice she is faced with. Try to put yourself in her shoes and never pressure her. Be sympathetic and let her know you understand this is a hard choice. Being empathic also means understanding and accepting that she may change her mind and decide to parent.
• Leave the Meeting Open for Future Contact. When the meeting is over, make sure you thank her and let her know that you are available for further questions. Encourage her to call your adoption agency or attorney if she needs anything else.
If your meeting doesn’t result in a match, try not to be discouraged. You’ll encounter many people on your journey to become parents, and the child who is meant to be with you will come when the time is right.