Now that we’re well into the New Year, how are you making out with your resolutions?
Lost a bit of weight? Nice.
Kicked the nicotine habit? Great.
How about adoption? Any big news on the open adoption front?
Right, didn’t think so. Adopting a baby isn’t as easy as losing a couple of pounds or giving up cigarettes for a month. You need willpower for those. Adoption takes willpower, too–and so much more.
I know, it’s hard to keep going when you don’t have anything to show for your efforts. I know because I’ve been there myself. And I also know how easy it is to come up with excuses when things don’t go your way.
However, next time you hear that voice in your head, just move on and remind yourself you can do it.
What follows are some of the more common excuses that prospective adoptive parents tell themselves when their open adoption journey has hit a wall. Any of them sound familiar to you?
Special thanks to Tommy Walker for inspiring this post. Without you, I probably would never have written it. Sounds like an excuse, but I like to think of it as show of gratitude.
1. You’re no good at it.
Actually, the real question is, who is good at adopting? No one, as far as I know, is a born to adopt. What’s more, it’s not like it gets easier over time.
Unlike learning a instrument or a mastering a language, in open adoption practice doesn’t make perfect. Just ask anyone who’s ever been there. They’ll tell you that the second time around wasn’t any easier than the first one.
Adoption, and especially open adoption, comes with a huge learning curve. Why? Because most people don’t even think about it until they’re in the late 20s or 30s. So stop making excuses. Not that they’ll get you anywhere any way. Instead, hunker down and soak up whatever information you can find from as many sources as possible and try to keep a positive outlook.
2. It’s too hard.
Did anyone ever tell you adopting a baby would be easy?
If they did, chances are they never adopted. It is difficult. But so is anything in life worth doing.
Maybe it’s a question of adjusting your expectations. A lot of people who dive into adoption after infertility think it’s going to be a breeze. After all, they’ve been through hell already–how much worse can it get?
But then they come up against home studies and interviews and police checks and medical clearances and, well…let’s just say it can be a rude awakening.
But here’s an upside: with infertility treatments no one ever said you’d wind up being a parent. But with adoption, there’s nothing that says you won’t–so long as you’re willing to stick it out.
3. It takes too much time.
How important is starting a family to you?
Is it more important than, say, going away for the weekend of taking time out of your exercise schedule?
Because that’s how much time you’ll need to devote every now and then to keep your adoption journey moving forward and ensure you’re not falling behind.
The reality is, everyone’s busy. There’s never enough time to do everything we want to. That’s why we prioritize things. We figure out what’s important and then we go after it.
So, if starting a family this year isn’t important for you, what is?
4. You’re not with the right adoption agency.
When the going gets tough for adoptive parents, adoptive parents get tough on their agency.
But it’s a cop-out. Your agency is only one part of your networking strategy. You can’t expect it to do everything. And if you are, you’re making a serious mistake.
Remember, it has dozens of other waiting parents just like you to worry about.
So don’t put all of your proverbial eggs in one basket. If you want something to happen this year, you’ve got to make it happen. Don’t count on your agency–or anyone else for that matter–to do all the work for you.
5. Your agency isn’t doing enough.
That may be, but again don’t leave it with all of the heavy lifting.
It’s got enough on its plate. Besides, there have been plenty of successful adoptive parents at mediocre agencies. Just as there have been plenty of unsuccessful waiting parents at amazing agencies.
At the end of the day, your agency won’t be the deciding factor on whether or not you adopt. You will.
6. You don’t have enough money.
Money can help you mount an effective networking strategy, but when it comes to finding a match it isn’t the be-all and end-all .
With the right planning and execution, you’d be surprised how far a little money can go.
As for the prospective birth parents, most of them couldn’t care less how much money you have in the bank or whether you’re rich or poor. For them, the most important thing is the kind of parent you’ll be and the future you can offer their child.
And in that respect, your emotional resources will always count for a lot more than your financial ones.
7. You’re too old.
Adoption isn’t for spring chickens. By the time most couples come to it they’re already north of 30.
So even though you may lament how old you look (and feel), it’s par for the course.
While you’re complaining, don’t lose sight of the fact that you have something that younger people don’t: experience. So don’t be afraid to show it off in your parent profile. Believe it or not, getting old does have its benefits. Be sure you make the most of them.
8. You’re afraid to tell anyone that you’re adopting.
Adoption is a personal choice. And if your choice is to keep it to yourself, that’s totally up to you.
Like I said, it’s personal. But keep in mind that when it comes to finding a match, you never know where it’s going to come from. So the more people you tell about your desire to adopt, the better.
Nobody’s telling you to shout it from the rooftops. But getting the word out can’t hurt. After all, someone may know someone who may know someone..well, you know the rest.
9. You’re worried what people will say when they find out you’re trying to adopt.
Not everyone adopts. And not everyone understands what open adoption is.
As an up and coming adoptive parent, one of your tasks will be to act as an advocate for your child.
And that means arming him or her with all the information and support he or she needs to get by in a world that isn’t particularly adoption-friendly. So what better time to get cracking than right now? In this case, practice really does mean perfect.
10. You’re not in a hurry.
OK, then why are you reading this? If you weren’t anxious to adopt, you would probably be somewhere else, reading someone else’s blog.
Not that I don’t appreciate you being here. But is waiting indefinitely really part of your adopting strategy? If it is, you’d be the first to admit it.
11. Other people have a better parent profile.
Other people have better houses, cars and careers, too. But should that stop you from trying to adopt? No way!
Besides, you’re not competing against anyone any way. Not really.
Every birth parent is different. And when it comes to finding adoptive parents for their child, their needs and wants are different, too. So, as long as you’re the person they’re looking for, you have nothing to worry about.
Still, if your letter or photos are keeping you up at night, make sure you do something about them the next morning.
12. Other people express themselves better.
No doubt, they can. But this isn’t about finding the most articulate person.
It’s about birth parents finding the adoptive parents that are right for them. As long as you’re honest and loving and open, most birth parents will overlook your communication challenges, whatever they may be.
13. Other people are better looking.
Choosing adoptive parents isn’t a beauty contest or a popularity contest.
We tend to choose people that have the same values, beliefs and interests as we do. Being attractive can help you get ahead in some fields. But it will only get you so far in open adoption.
14. Your life isn’t as interesting as other people’s.
Again, that’s no reason for an expectant parent not to choose you. And while we’re on the subject, what’s your definition of “interesting” any way?
If it means someone who will nurture a child, give him or her opportunities and open his or her eyes to the wonders of the world, that would meet most expectant parents’ definition of the word–and then some.
15. You have no idea what birth mothers are looking for.
Most adoptive parents don’t. Why? Because each expectant parent is so different, with different wants and different needs.
And yet, with all of the information available at your fingertips, there’s no reason why you can’t explore birth mother blogs, websites and forums to get a better sense of who they are and what they’re looking for.
Quit thinking of prospective birth mothers as abstract identities. Despite their differences, they really are just people.
16. You’ve never met a birth mother.
Visit YouTube. You’ll find lots of first-person testimonials about what it’s like to be a birth mother.
Listen to what they have to say. It will put a human face on what it means to place a baby for adoption. Keep in mind that each story is different. What one birth mother was looking for may not be the same thing as what others were looking for.
Remember, birth mothers come in all shapes, sizes and colors, just like people who are hoping to adopt. That’s why it’s important to be yourself rather than say things you think they’ll want to hear.
17. Other couples have been married longer.
It’s true that prospective birth parents tend to favor couples who have a rock solid relationship, and one indicator of that is the number of years they’ve been married.
But it’s only one factor among many–one more reason to make sure that your photos show both you, and your relationship, in the best light possible.
18. Other couples are more educated.
Education is another important factor when it comes to expectant parents choosing their child’s adoptive parents. But again, it’s not the only one.
And it’s not always a simple issue. If you have too much education, prospective birth parents may be intimidated. If you don’t have enough, they may not be interested. But what it really comes down to are opportunities. What kind of opportunities can you offer a child, educational or otherwise?
And don’t forget, the classroom isn’t the only place where learning takes place.
19. Other couples have more to offer.
More what? Although it’s tempting, don’t focus on what others have to offer expectant parents. Concentrate on what you can offer and make sure it’s clearly communicated.
20. Other couples have no kids.
Generally speaking, prospective birth parents are thought to lean toward childless couples because they want their child to be the only one.
But it works both ways. Believe it or not, many prospective birth parents want their child to have a sibling, someone they can grow up with and with whom they share a common bond through adoption.
21. Other couples have kids.
22. You’ve never been lucky or been chosen for anything.
Really? Think back for a moment. In high school, nobody ever wanted you on their team? Never got a lucky break or received some unexpected good news? And if you have a partner, how did that relationship ever get started if not for that reason?
23. You don’t have a good website.
A website is nice way to give yourself a presence on the web. But just because you build it doesn’t mean they will come. If you want to be found, you’ve got to do a lot more work than that.
A website on its own won’t necessarily make a difference. Long before the web came along, people still found ways to connect with women who were facing an unplanned pregnancy. Although the web makes it easier to networking, nothing beats good old-fashioned word of mouth.
24. You don’t know anything about social media.
Twitter and Facebook are great ways to connect, but there are other tools at your disposal: adoption cards, newspaper ads, printed pamphlets and books that have nothing to do with social media. The sky’s the limit. Or rather, your budget and creativity are.
25. There are way too many other people trying to adopt.
The number of people trying to adopt a baby vastly outnumbers the babies that are available for adoption. But why should that stop you?
Remember, you’re just trying to connect to one birth family, the one that’s looking for you. And when it happens, you’ll feel like it was the match you’d been waiting for your entire life.
26. If it doesn’t happen, it doesn’t happen.
Some adoptions happen for a reason. And others just, well, happen. But usually it’s because someone somehow made it happen.
In other words, in order to be successful, you need to be proactive. That means taking control of your journey and doing something about it. If it’s not a priority for you, it won’t be a priority for anyone else.
27. It’s okay if it doesn’t happen right now, you could use a little extra time to focus on your career anyway.
Not! Your career can wait. You can always go back and pick up where you left off. Or you can take it in completely different direction.
Parenthood, on the other hand, doesn’t have an indefinite shelf life. These are the best years of your life. Why not spend them by doing something that will make a difference in a child’s world–and yours. The only regret you’ll have is that you didn’t start earlier.
28. You’re not ready to become a parent.
Biological parents have nine months to prepare to for a new baby. Adoptive parents sometimes only have days, even hours. So feeling like you need more time isn’t unusual.
But just wait: once that child is placed in your arms, you’ll learn fast. Not like you’ll have a lot of choice.
29. You won’t be a good parent.
Nobody’s perfect. And that applies to new parents, too. In fact, that applies especially to new parents.
You’ll make mistakes along the way. Every parent does. It’s one of the occupational hazards of suddenly finding yourself responsible for another human being. But don’t worry. If other people who can do it, you can, too. Some biological parents take the job for granted. But, given all the hoops you’ve gone through to get there, one thing is for sure: you won’t.
30. There are other things you want to do first.
Really? Like what? Learn a new language? Go on an extended vacation?
There’s still time to do them. But get started on your adoption plans now. Because once you’re a new parent, you won’t have a lot of time to do much of anything else.
31. It doesn’t matter since the child you’ll be presented with will probably have something wrong with it.
Fear is a big part of the adoption process. So is uncertainty. And one goes hand in hand with the other.
So before you make any commitments, make sure you know you’re getting yourself into. Do your homework. Ask questions. Speak to people who have been down this road before you.
Adoption is a leap of faith. Before you dive in, do what you have to do. It could save you headaches and heartaches down the road.
32. The birth mother is just going to change her mind anyway.
Some parts of the adoption process you can control, and some you can’t.
Prospective birth parents not only have the option to change their mind; it’s their right. So rather than focus on the things that are out of your hands, look at the ones you can take ownership of and keep your eye on the ball.
33. Other waiting parents are more deserving.
Every waiting parent who survives the home study process is qualified to adopt. Does that mean they’re more deserving? Not at all.
Some will get chosen right away, others will wait longer, and still others may never get chosen at all. As someone who’s hoping to adopt, you don’t have a say in how a match happens. Either it will happen or it won’t. And if it happens to you and not someone else, there’s probably a reason why. So enjoy it rather than question it.
34. Other people have waited longer and since it hasn’t happen to them it won’t happen to you.
Each case is different. No two adoption stories are alike. Just because others are still waiting doesn’t mean that you have to as well.
35. Other people you know were matched with a baby and had a bad experience.
Again, just because adoption didn’t work out for other hopeful parents doesn’t mean it won’t work for you. Find out a little more about their situation and why it didn’t work. Then learn from their mistakes.
36. Your partner isn’t into adopting as much as you are.
While it’s true that couples have an edge over single waiting parents when it comes to being chosen by a prospective birth mother, that doesn’t mean they have it easier.
Everyone has their own take on adoption and comes to it in their own time, in their own way. So if you suspect your partner isn’t as committed as you are, better do something about it now. After all, you’re in this together. You need to be on the same page. It will make things easier now–and especially later, when you bring your baby home.
37. Your family isn’t behind you and doesn’t understand why you want to adopt.
Having family support won’t necessarily help you find a match, but it could help you after your placement.
So if there’s a problem within your family, get to the root of it. Is the opposition due to ignorance or because they’re worried you might get hurt? At the end of the day, how important is their support any way? Will their attitude and approach change once you become parents?
38. Maybe you should take another look at IVF or surrogacy or other alternative family-building options.
When it comes to building a family, there are so many alternatives. But just because one route isn’t successful right away is no reason to start exploring other options.
Give it time. Have a Plan A. If that doesn’t work, think about a Plan B or C or D, if need be. Don’t expect results overnight. Each adoption path is different and each one comes with its own ups and downs and timetable. For now, if you’ve decided to focus your efforts on open adoption, keep your eye on the ball. Don’t forget, good things come to those who wait.
39. If it was supposed to happen it would have happened by now.
Life unfolds in mysterious ways. Remember the saying, “we plan, God laughs”? Well, even if you don’t believe in God, you’ve probably experienced a few surprises in your life, some good, some bad. So ditch the melodrama. And don’t be so hard on yourself. Your match will happen, if you let it happen.
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