There’s only one thing better than finishing your adoption profile to create a connection with a birth mother. It’s receiving a positive response to it.
Hearing back from a prospective birth mother is a feeling that’s hard to describe. (Although words like “Yipee!” “Wow” and “Oh my God, what am I going to do now” come to mind).
Before you pop the champagne cork or get the baby’s room ready, however, just remember that finding a match-–or more accurately, getting a response to your profile–-doesn’t an adoption make. You still have a long way to go.
Firstly, an expectant mother considering adoption is not a birthmother. She doesn’t become a birthmother until she signs the adoption papers and relinquishes rights to her baby.
And secondly, most expectant mothers you meet through your profile will want to know more about you. So if you want to take your relationship to the next level, you’ll need to answer her questions as best you can. If you don’t, she could very well move on to someone else.
There are no right or wrong answers. All you can do is be open and honest. You’ll be nervous. But so will the expectant parent you’re speaking to.
After all, there’s a lot at stake for both of you, and there a lot better ways and places to deal with an issue that is as serious and as life-changing as this one.
One advantage you have is that you know a lot more about the adoption process than the expectant mother (or parents) and have been waiting for this moment for a long time, perhaps years.
She, on the other hand, may have only recently learned about her pregnancy and made the decision to pursue adoption.
Plus, unlike you, she may not be able to count on the support from her partner or her family. For that reason, she may be the one to initiate your discussion. But you’re the one who can lead it.
Just finding out how she feels and what’s she doing is a simple way to reach you and build your relationship. Expect a lot of silences and awkward moments off the top.
They’re par for the course in any new relationship. As time goes on and you get to know each other better, you’ll be able to build trust and reach a certain comfort level.
Start slowly, through email, and gradually move up to phone conversations and eventually a face-to-face meeting. Through your adoption worker, you’ll need to find her a worker who can explain how the adoption process works and what her rights and responsibilities are.
You’ll be curious to know about the details of her life as well, but let her share them with you when she’s ready. Similarly, you’ll want to know about how her baby is doing and whether she or he is getting the proper care.
There’s nothing wrong in asking, but be sure not to focus all of your discussion around the baby. If you do, she may feel that you’re not interested in her and start looking for someone else who is.
There are other ways of showing your support and concern. For instance, if you live nearby, you could accompany her to a doctor’s appointment. Or at the very least find out what it went. Other things you could do together include
- Go grocery shopping together
- See a movie together
- Meet her friends and family
As her due date approaches, you’ll need to decide about arrangement at the hospital and whether you want to be there when the birth happens. That’s something you don’t need to decide now and not on your own.
Given the volatility of your situation, and the fact that the expectant parent has the right to change her mind at any time, it won’t be easy. But no adoption situation ever is.
If, for any reason, you sense that the prospective birth mother is wavering in her adoption plan, take a step back and make a honest assessment. If things feel like they’re starting to unravel, find out what the problem is and try to fix it. Sometimes you can’t and there’s nothing you can do about it.
Sometimes things just aren’t meant to be. Don’t blame yourself. But if you do find your situation is spiralling out of control, get your worker involved and make your relationship fall apart. That’s right: make it fall apart. If it does, there might never have been anything there to begin with.
If it doesn’t, you have one more reason to feel optimistic about your future. As a general rule, keep away from situations where you feel like you’re doing all of the work or walking on eggshells every time you speak to the prospective birth mother.
Remember, your child will always have a connection to his or birth parents. So make sure that you’re always upfront with them and feel as comfortable with them as they do with you.