New year, new baby?
Now that 2017 is here, that’s the question that many waiting adoptive parent are asking themselves. Is this the year I finally become a parent?
The answer depends on a number of factors. But in open adoption, first and foremost there’s one thing you need to do: find a match with an expectant mother.
Unless you can connect with an expecting parent (or parents) who is facing an unplanned pregnancy and considering adoption for her baby, you could be waiting a long time.
Here are 21 things to help you make a connection and find a match that’s right for you this year.
1. Start fresh
It’s a new year and anything is possible. Grab opportunities wherever you see them.
Wake up each morning feeling positive and refreshed, keeping in mind that this could be the day when everything changes.
2. Don’t dwell on the past
When it comes to adoption, past performance isn’t an indicator of future success.
Just because you’ve had setbacks in the past doesn’t mean that you won’t find a match or adopt in the future.
3. Be hopeful
Let’s face it, finding an adoption match is hard.
Having a positive attitude won’t connect you directly with an expectant mother. But it will make it a whole lot easier.
4. Be proactive
Hope is good. But it’s not a strategy. Besides being positive, you need to do the work.
That means doing everything you can to reach your goal, whether it be making sure your profile is the best it can be or telling everyone you know about your plan to adopt.
5. Be creative
When you’re trying to reach out to expectant parents, it’s easy to forget that there are hundreds of other couples who are doing the exact same thing.
As a result, you need to find a way to stand out, and that means thinking outside the box and going that extra mile to make you and your profile as appealing as possible.
6. Be resourceful
From websites to adoption profiles services, you have all kinds of tools at your disposal to set yourself apart.
Make sure you know what they are, especially the ones online, and take advantage of them.
7. Be Persistent
If there’s one characteristic that defines successful adoptive parents, it’s tenacity. No matter how big or bad the odds are, they just keep going and never give up.
Don’t let bumps in the road discourage you. Learn from them and move on.
8. Be Transparent
Expectant parents aren’t looking for perfect parents. They’re looking for real, authentic parents. And that means being transparent about who you really are and what you’re looking for.
When it comes to creating your profile or meeting with expectant parents, be honest and upfront. For the sake of a match, don’t pretend to be someone you’re not.
9. Reach out to other adoptive parents
Adopting a baby can be a long, lonely slog.
Speaking to other adoptive parents will prepare you emotionally and financially for the road ahead and give you all kinds of unexpected insights about what to expect.
10. Educate yourself about birthparents
Knowing who birthmothers and birthfathers are and what they’re looking for will not only help you find a match faster and easier.
It will also assist you in building a strong, healthy relationship with them after you become a parent. Our Birthmothers Blog page, which has links to dozens of birthmom blogs, can help you.
11. Learn from adoptees
You may be adopting a baby now, but one day that baby will grow up and have lots of questions. Don’t wait for them to arrive.
Instead, spend the time now to learn about the unique issues and challenges you’ll face down the road by speaking to adoptees and learning about their experiences.
12. Join a support group
Whether they’re online or in your neighborhood, support groups are a lifeline for hopeful parents.
Most people won’t understand what you’re going through because they’ve never been through it. But other adopting parents have first-hand experience and advice that they’ll be happy to share with you.
13. Read everything you can find about open adoption
Finding an adoption match comes with a huge learning curve.
Because no two stories are alike it’s important to read about as many experiences as you can. If you’re looking for a place to start, check out our blog, which has nearly 500 stories from all members of the triad.
14. Be patient
Adoptions don’t happen overnight. Like any complicated life-changing event, they take time.
The sooner you understand that, the easier the ride you’ll have.
15. Keep living your life
No matter how hard your journey is—and there will be days when you’ll be one inch away from giving up—don’t put your life on hold.
Eat well. Exercise regularly. Get a good night’s sleep. And spend time with your partner doing things that you enjoy. They will all help you shake off the stress in the short-term and pay off in the long run.
16. Stay in touch with your professionals
Keeping in regular contact with your adoption workers can help you learn about new opportunities.
And if a situation does come up, you could be the first to know about it.
17. Be flexible
Finding a match is rarely a straightforward journey. There are all kinds twists and turns along the way.
When it comes to your criteria about religion, race, medical issues and openness, keep an open mind on what you’re willing to accept and don’t be afraid to pivot if necessary.
18. Update your home study
You never know when a match will come. It can happen any day, at any time.
Knowing that, make sure your home study is up to date so as to avoid any unnecessary delays and headaches.
19. Manage your expectations
One of the biggest mistakes that waiting parents make when waiting for an adoption match is underestimating the work involved in finding one.
Educating yourself on the process and speaking to others who have been down this road will make you more realistic and less frustrated about your prospects when things don’t go according to plan.
20. Take a break
Finding an adoption match can be all-consuming. And exhausting, too. Don’t wait until you get to your breaking point.
If you find that you’ve reached your limit and are ready to explode, step away from your efforts and do something for yourself. It will give you a chance to put things in perspective and come back feeling renewed and refreshed.
21. Don’t let your journey define you
You are many things besides a waiting parent—don’t forget that.
Take stock of what you have and don’t lose sight of who you are. Remember, one day you will become a parent and all of this uncertainty will pass.
Now that the new year is here, take advantage of all of the new opportunities it brings. By working hard and staying positive, 2017 could be your year to find an open adoption match.
Do you have an open adoption story? Email us any time or find out more about how to share it with our community.
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