This guest post is by Preetha, a hopeful adoptive mother.
A few weeks ago, I received a call from a potential birth mother. This was the first time I actually talked with one. My previous contacts were all via email. From my perspective, it was a good conversation. She explained her situation to me and asked me more details about myself and my husband.
She went on to explain why our profile stood out to her. She also gave me her cell phone number and email address which I thought was a good sign. It meant she was open to staying connected with me. After that initial conversation, we communicated via text messages, and I also followed up via email to ask how she was doing.
A few days later, I was informed by our adoption center that she chose another couple.
Although we were mentally prepared for this to happen, my husband and I were disappointed and bewildered because we didn’t know what we did — or didn’t do. We tried to get some insights from the folks at our adoption center but the only explanation we received was that she felt she had more in common with the other couple.
We continued to have the feelings of disappointment over the next couple days. However, this incident also made us stop and reflect on what we could do if we get another call in the future. Here are some of our lessons learned.
Identify commonalities with the prospective birth mother
In the initial conversation, I tried to get to know her but maybe I could have tried harder to find things in common with regard to hobbies, interests, etc. This might have put her more at ease and might have made it easier for her to relate to us.
Explicitly ask about future contacts
She explained to me that it would be ok to email her but I could have asked her how frequently I could contact her. Now, I’m in a position where I don’t know if I did too much or too little.
Involve my husband in the birthparent contact
Since I have the toll-free number forwarded to my cell phone, obviously, I was the first person to chat with her. I was also the one to send her emails. My intention was to build a rapport with her first before involving my husband. I could have asked her if she would be comfortable interacting with my husband as well.
Again, we are a in a position where we are speculating about what we didn’t do.
I don’t know if I’ll ever be in a position where I get to talk with a potential birth parent. If I do, I’ll certainly be more alert and thoughtful about my approach. If others have best practices or perspectives, to share, I’d appreciate them.
Preetha and her husband, Don, have been happily married for ten years and are currently living and working in Bloomington, Illinois. They are looking to expand their family through open adoption and are working with Independent Adoption Center (IAC), a licensed, non-profit organization.
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