The faster you can reach out to a pregnant woman who is considering adoption for her baby and build a relationship with her, the faster you can adopt.
But a question that a lot of hopeful adoptive parents have is, what is an expectant mother looking for? What do I need to include in my profile, or say or do when I speak to her, that will increase my chances of making a connection and finding a match?
But that’s not really the right way to look at it. I’ll tell you why in a sec. But first, let’s look at some of the things that pregnant women who have placed a baby for adoption have traditionally looked for, or have been thought to have looked for in adopting parents.
- A family with two parents
- A family that was childless
- A family that lived nearby
Today, this still holds true for many women. But it doesn’t apply to everyone. Thanks to the internet and other developments such as same-sex and single parent placements, the open adoption landscape has changed dramatically.
Plus, within each situation there will be variations based on the individual’s personal preferences. For instance, a pregnant woman who is looking for more contact may specifically ask to see profiles of adoptive couples that live close by because she believes it will make it easier for her to keep in touch with them and her baby. But whether the adopting parents live in the city or the country, in an urban or suburban setting, in a house or a condo, may not make any difference to her one way or the other.
So when it comes down to the nitty-gritty details, each case is different. What does it take to make a match? It’s hard to come up with any definitive answers. All you can do is speculate. That said, here are 10 general things that pregnant women who have placed a baby for adoption have identified as being important to them that could help you in your efforts to adopt.
1. Adoptive parents who match their criteria
First things first: every pregnant woman considering adoption has a list of things she’s looking for in adoptive parents for her baby — a wish list of items she wants her child to have. Again, the specifics will vary from one woman to the next, based on the individual involved. For instance, an expectant mother may have preferences about the adoptive parents’ race or religion, which is something you can’t control, or about the level of openness she wants to have with them after the placement, which is something you can control.
2. Adoptive parents they can relate to
In order for a pregnant woman considering adoption to choose you, she has to be able to relate to you. She needs to feel that you have not only a common goal — providing a loving home for her baby — but also common interests and values. Just about anything could create that initial connection — an interesting detail in your letter or something that stands out in your photos. So if you have a passion for beadmaking or love vegetable gardening or have a photo of yourself on all fours giving your three-year-old niece a horsey ride, make sure you include those bits of information in your parent profile.
3. Adoptive parents who will give their children the future they want them to have
All expectant mothers have hopes and dreams for their children — things they want them to have but are unable to give them at the present time due to their circumstances. When some hopeful parents hear this, they automatically think of material things, and will plaster their profile with pictures of their house or swimming pool, which will actually turn off expecting mothers. In fact, when a pregnant woman considering adoption talks about giving her child a better future, more often than not she’s referring to more basic things such as having her child grow up in a safe environment or giving her access to more educational opportunities .
4. Adoptive parents they can visualize being their child’s parents
Before a pregnant woman considering adoption can choose you, she needs to feel good about you. And that includes being able to visualize you in the role of a parent. If she can’t see you holding her baby in your arms, chances are she won’t pick you. It’s as simple as that. That’s why it’s important for you to include any experiences you’ve had with children in your letter — whether it be babysitting when you were younger or volunteer work you’re doing with Big Sisters today — and to illustrate them with lots of children- and family-friendly photos.
5. Adoptive parents who will love their child as much as they do
Expectant mothers don’t give up their children. They place them in loving families. As parents hoping to adopt, your job is to convince a pregnant mother that her child will be in good hands and that you’ll love that child as much as she does. So again, if you have pictures of you up close and personal with your child or someone else’s — a friend’s or a family member’s — don’t forget to include them in your profile. You can say anything you want in your profile. But when it comes to making a case for yourself, seeing is believing.
6. Adoptive parents who are as interested in them as much as they are in their child
An expecting mother wants to find adoptive parents who will love with her child. But equally important is finding parents who are interested in her. So don’t ignore her by turning your focus entirely on the baby and her pregnancy. Show the expectant mother that you care for her too. Once you make that intial connection, keep in touch through phone calls and texts, offer to accompany her doctor’s appointments if it’s possible, and generally make sure her needs are looked after. It will make her feel better about herself. And it will build her confidence in you.
7. Adoptive parents who won’t judge them
Placing a baby for adoption is one of the hardest decisions a pregnant woman can make. Even if she’s 100 percent comfortable with her decision, she may still worry about whether she’s doing the right thing and how others view her. She may be wracked with feelings of shame and guilt. Don’t add to her burden. Instead, reach out to her, assist her in any way you can either directly or indirectly through counseling, and help her validate her decision.
8. Adoptive parents who will respect them
An unplanned pregnancy can be a lonely time for a woman, especially if she has lost the support of the baby’s father and her family. Listening to her and being there for her can help put her mind at ease and make her feel less isolated. Even if you don’t agree with her choices, don’t talk down to her or treat her any differently than you would any other pregnant woman. Give her space to exercise her options and change her mind if she feels that would be best for her baby.
9. Adoptive parents they can trust
Trust is at the heart of every relationship, and open adoption relationships are no different. So if you’re going to make promises, make sure you follow through on them. No matter how badly you want the adoption to work, don’t say or do anything that would cause the expecting mother to question your motives or that would raise doubts about your honesty and integrity. Remember, finding a match is only one part of the process. You still have your whole lives ahead of you after the placement.
10. Adoptive parents who will make them laugh
Remember what I said at the outset — about how each individual has her own preferences? Well, for many pregnant women finding a family with a sense of humor is important. A crisis pregnancy can be a tense time and, of course, is nothing to laugh about. However, adding a bit of levity to the situation can often go a long way to creating an instant connection. So if humor comes naturally to you, don’t be afraid to use it. There’s nothing like a good laugh to break the ice and take the edge off of the expectant mother’s situation so that you can build a long and last relationship together.
So, there you have it — 10 things that a pregnant woman considering adoption is looking for in parents hoping to adopt. Remember, this list is written in pixels, not stone. These are guidelines rather than rules. You may make a connection for completely different reasons, and I hope you do. When that happens, please let me know because I’d love to add your story to the list.
What do you think a pregnant woman considering adoption for her baby is looking for in hopeful adoptive parents? What are you doing to increase your chances of making a connection? Share your comments in the section below.