We had just finished our home study and had completed our education and training courses. All the paperwork and preparation was behind us.
There was only thing left to do: find an expectant mother who was looking for adoptive parents for her baby.
That was all fine and good except for one thing: Despite all of the courses I took and books I read, I had no idea how to do it. Or, more importantly, what an expectant mother was looking for.
Like many hopeful adoptive parents, I got caught up thinking about all of the things I imagined were important to her. Our ages. Our location. Our religion.
And, of course, I worried that whatever it was she was looking for, we didn’t have it.
What I didn’t realize was that it was a lot more complicated than that.
Sure, she probaly did have a list of concrete things she was looking for.
But there were other things she was looking for that were less tangible. Things I couldn’t put my finger on, but that were equally, if not more important.
Every adoption situation is different and so are the reasons for placement. They vary from individual to individual. That said, here are three things that I think are important for expectant mothers when choosing adoptive parents for their baby.
Placing a baby for adoption is the hardest thing an expectant mother can do. But instead of trying to understand women in those circumstances, society tends to judge them.
People say things like “I could never do that” or “Don’t you want him?” What they don’t realize is that just because a baby is unplanned doesn’t mean he is unloved.
Today, most open placements are done willingly, out of love. If a birthmother believed she could have raised her baby, she would have. The reason she isn’t is because she wanted the best for her child, and in some cases that means having him raised by another set of parents.
Acknowledging the difficult choice that an expectant mother has to make can go along a way to helping her explore her options and move forward with her decision, without coercion or pressure.
Few experiences in life are more isolating than creating an adoption plan for your baby. It’s a decision that many expectant mothers find they have to make on their own, without the support — and often against the wishes — of their baby’s father or their family.
Just about every expectant mother will tell you that having an unplanned pregnancy and placing their baby for adoption wasn’t something they grew up dreaming about. It wasn’t part of their life plan.
So instead of making assumptions about the circumstances behind her situation or her intentions, listen to her and offer her support, even if it could result in her changing her mind and not following through with her adoption plan.
“I can’t begin to understand the struggles you are going through.” That’s how a lot of adopting parents adoption profile letters begin.
And unless you’ve been through the experience yourself, it’s true: you can’t begin to understand it. However, as you and the expectant mother begin your relationship and get to know each other, make sure that you do understand the difference between a birthmother (someone who has given birth and terminated her parental rights) and a prospective birthmother (someone who is pregnant and is thinking about adoption).
Remember that until a woman signs the adoption papers and relinquishes her child, she is just another pregnant woman and has the right to be treated as such — with humility, compassion and respect.
It’s hard to know what an expectant mother is looking for when choosing adoptive parents for her child. Each individual is different, with different criteria. But by recognising the difficult time she is going through and showing her support and respect, you can increase your chances of building a strong relationship with her before her placement and, if she decides to go through with her adoption plan, after it as well.
What do you think an expectant mother considering adoption is looking for in adoptive parents? What do you think is the best way to start off your relationship? Leave your comments in the section below or on our Facebook page.