What does it take to find an match with prospective birthparents? Is there a magic formula for making a connection with an expectant mother and father who are considering adoption for their baby? What skills or talents do you need to have in order to become a successful adoptive parent? And more importantly, do you have them?
Creating a connection with prospective birthparents doesn’t come overnight. And it doesn’t come easily, either. It takes time and work. A lot of work. Not to mention a fair bit of luck. And while there is no magic formula for finding success, no established set of rules that will guarantee you a match with a prospective birthmother or father, here are some traits that are common to successful adoptive parents.
Adoptive parents are focused
Finding a match with prospective birthparents isn’t something that just happens. Nobody ever made a connection by just sitting back and letting others do the work for them. It requires a plan — a strategy that will help you reach out and make a connection to the family that’s right for you. So before you do anything else, you need to have a clear idea about who you’re trying to connect with and the best way to do it.
Adoptive Parents are flexible
Adoptive parenting requires flexibility. So does becoming an adoptive parent. It’s good to have a plan in place, but when things don’t happen as quickly or as easily as you expect them to, you have to be ready to step in and either start over again. Or at the very least take a fresh approach. If you don’t, you could waste a lot of time and money going down the wrong path.
Adoptive parents are resourceful
When things get tough, hopeful adoptive parents don’t get bitter. They get resourceful. They change course and try a different tack. It doesn’t have to be anything big. It could be something as simple as expanding your networking efforts — reaching out to prospective birthparents in another state or creating an advertising campaign with Google AdWords. Given the time and money it takes to find a match, being resourceful isn’t just an option in open adoption. It’s a necessity.
Adoptive parents are motivated
Making a connection with a birth mother isn’t a linear process. There’s no one-size-fits-all or step-by-step approach that works in every situation. That’s why it’s important to stay motivated. Once the obstacles get in your way — and inevitably they will — you need to stay strong and keep your eyes on the prize. After all, making a connection with birthparents is one of the hardest things you’ll ever do. And if you’re not totally committed to it, there are plenty of other hopeful adoptive parents out there who are and who will find a match long before you do.
Adoptive parents are honest
Connecting with birthparents isn’t a one-time event. It’s the beginning of a lifelong relationship . For that reason, it’s important to be honest and upfront from the start — to create a solid foundation and to build on it from the get-go. Telling prospective birth parents that you’re planning to be a stay-at-home mother may help you get your foot in the door. But if you have no intentions of following through with your promise, it will only poison your relationship with them down the road.
Adoptive parents are persistent
Being focused and motivated can help you get started in your quest to reach out to prospective birthparents, but persistence is what will ultimately get you to the finish line. Remember Murphy’s Law — that anything that can go wrong will go wrong? Well, that law applies to adoption, in spades. So don’t let obstacles slow you down or get you down. Stay hungry. Each time you run into a hurdle, find a way around it. Not on the same wavelength as your social worker? Find another one. Your parent profile not being shown to prospective birthparents? Determine what’s wrong with it and put together a new one. Little changes can often make a big difference.
Adoptive parents are patient
Finding a match with prospective birth parents takes time. Lots of time. Even though each situation is different, with its own ups and downs, you should count on waiting at least a year or two before making that all important connection. Staying busy and being proactive is the key. Not only will it help you in your networking efforts, it make the time go faster, too. Managing expectations is one of the hardest things you need to do when trying to find a match with prospective birthparents. So make sure that yours are realistic and that you’re willing to put in the time in order to make things happen.
Adoptive parents are positive
It’s easy to beat yourself up when you’re attempts to reach out to prospective birthparents are unsuccessful. After all, so many things are out of your control. Mistakes are just part of the process, though. So when you make them, don’t get mad. Learn from them and move on. When one door closes, a window opens. Stay upbeat and be good to yourself. And when thing fall off the rails, just remind that yourself that you’re one step closer to finding the adoption match you’ve been looking for.
Nobody ever said finding a match with prospective birthparents would be easy. There’s no ready-to-use guide on how to make a connection. These are some of the traits that can help you reach out to birth families and adopt easier and faster. But just because you lack one or two of them doesn’t mean you won’t become an adoptive parent. They’ll all easy to pick up. Just take things one day at a time and be ready to seize the opportunities when they come your way.
What do you think are the characteristics of a successful adoptive parent? What do you think hopeful parents need to do in order to find a match with prospective birthparents? What are some of the things that helped you in your efforts to connect with your child’s birthparents?