This guest post is by Gina Crotts, a birthmother.
Connecting with a expectant mother considering adoption for her baby is one of the most important steps in your open adoption journey.
In many ways, it opens up a totally new chapter — one that could result in you becoming a parent.
But it’s also a difficult, uncertain time not only for you, but for the person you’re trying to connect with.
Before you begin your outreach efforts, here are a few things you need to know about a expectant mother with an adoption plan and the challenges she’s facing.
1. This is a trying time for any woman facing an unplanned pregnancy.
Unplanned pregnancies cause relationships to shift. It’s possible the woman you’ve connected with has lost friendships, parental guidance, significant others.
Relationships that were once on solid ground may no longer exist. The loss of this support plays a role in her self-esteem and decision making.
Be sensitive to the loss of these relationships. Be her friend, not a sales pitch.
Do not overwhelm her with specifications about your family, not right away. Right now, it’s about her.
Listen, listen, and when in doubt, listen some more. A great friend is a great listener.
Offer advice when asked, but be cautious of unsolicited advice. Make it clear you are reaching out to be a support for her and to get to know her.
2. Emotions are thick.
Expectant mothers feel uncharted emotions.
When you’re faced with an unplanned pregnancy, your emotions take on a new level of highs and lows.
Nothing feels familiar or normal during this time. Riding this rollercoaster of emotions with a stranger can be tricky, but not impossible.
Be a shoulder for her to cry on. Be the cheerleader she will need.
Don’t take anything personally and stay as neutral as possible.
If you stay centered during these highs and lows, it will be easier for her to find her way back to normalcy.
3. No promise is confirmed until action is made.
There is a lot of talk during this period of wants and needs. Exchanges of how you see an open adoption working and how she views a future open relationship.
Each conversation should be taken with a grain of salt.
Circumstances change, people change, emotions drive change, and like I said, emotions are thick right now.
Don’t make promises you can’t keep. Don’t believe promises that may not be kept.
Nothing is confirmed until you see it in action, and I believe this to be true on both sides.
4. Decisions are difficult, even with the perfect circumstances.
Unplanned pregnancies bring on the biggest decisions a woman will ever make. It’s common for a woman to go back and forth.
She may change her mind from day to day. Often the decision has been made, but it is hard to voice.
Saying the words out loud, “I am going to place my baby for adoption,” holds a lot of weight.
Don’t push for a decision. Don’t rush the process and keep in mind that the process is different for every expectant mother.
Allow her to talk through her options with you. Remember to stay neutral.
Once a decision is made respect the space that she is in. If she chooses adoption, this is still her time with her baby.
Allow the space to be hers, until she invites you in, and she will.
If you reach out to an expectant woman with an adoption plan, lead with your heart. If your intentions are pure, the light will shine through.
This is not a business exchange, this is her life and your life as well.
Shy away from a sales pitch about your family and how long you have waited to have a child.
All of those conversations will come in due time. For now, be her friend, be respectful, and stay positive.
Gina Crotts is a birthmother. To read more about Gina and follow her adoption story, go to www.ginacrotts.com
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