Every day it’s the same: you wake up in the morning full of hope that this will be the day when you finally connect with a prospective birthmother. It’s been months since you first sent out your adoption profile and you still haven’t received a response. Not a peep.
But as another day goes by without hearing anything, you start to wonder how much longer can you go on like this. Why aren’t prospective birthmothers clicking with you? What’s wrong with your profile? What’s missing?
Your adoption worker and others tell you to be patient. Your time will come, they say. And they’re right: matches with birthmothers do take time. Lots of time. But there may be other reasons why a prospective birthmother isn’t connecting with your profile.
You sound like everyone else
Imagine you’re pregnant and you have to pick out parents for your child from dozens of families hoping to adopt. Now imagine that all you have to go on is a letter they’ve written to you and that each one sounds the same.
The same points, the same headings, even the same opening paragraph. “We can’t believe how difficult this decision must be for you….” What would you do? Wouldn’t you keep going until you found a family that really spoke to you?
Actionable tip: Find two or three things that set you apart from everyone else and introduce them early in your profile.
She can’t relate to you
In order to connect with you, a prospective birthmother has to relate to you. She has to feel like she knows you, that you have something in common — a shared interest, value or belief. It could be anything. You have a dog, she once had a dog. You adore lacrosse, she adores lacrosse. You’re crazy about Christmas, she’s crazy about Christmas.
Don’t second guess yourself and leave something out of their letter just because you don’t think a prospective birthmother will be interested in it. Each one is different and has different priorities.
Actionable tip: Be yourself and write from the heart since you never know what details will resonate with a prospective birthmother.
You don’t sound credible
When it comes to creating an adoption connection, first impressions count. A lot. Again, put yourself in a prospective birthmother’s shoes. You’re about to make one of the biggest decisions in your life based on a letter from an adoptive family. But every family sounds perfect — too good to be true. “Evelyn lights up the room when she comes in.” “Peter is the nicest, kindest, most generous man I have ever met.”
With descriptions like that, how is a prospective birthmother supposed to get a sense of what you’re really like? Make it easy for her — be sincere and don’t be afraid to show your imperfections. They’re the kinds of things that make you human and that a prospective birthmother can connect with.
Actionable tip: Being real is more important than being perfect.
She doesn’t trust you
Your letter sounds great. But how does a prospective birthmother know whether you’re everything you say you are? How does she know that not saying things just for the sake of saying them? She doesn’t. In the end of the day, it all comes down to one word: trust. How credible are you?
Sure, you can say anything you want. But if you haven’t gained a prospective birthmother’s trust, it doesn’t matter what you say. She won’t believe you. So how do you win her trust? For starters, by not saying anything you can’t back up later.
Actionable tip: Be transparent. If you’re not sure about something, say so. Don’t pretend you have all the answers or make promises you can’t keep.
The details are irrelevant
There’s a reason a prospective birthmother is reading your letter: she wants to know what kind of parent you’ll be and about the future you can offer her child. But if you’ve never been a parent, that’s a hard topic to write about.
Just don’t pad your letter about useful information about your wedding or your favorite vacation spots. Instead, talk about your thoughts about parenting and adoption and how you plan to raise your child. And if you have any experience coaching, babysitting or working with kids, don’t forget to include it.
Actionable tip: Help a prospective birthmother visualize what kind of parent you’ll be by sharing your parenting-related stories.
There’s nothing in it for her
As a prospective birthmother scans your letter, one of the things she’ll be looking for is what kind of relationship you want to have with her after the adoption is finalized. Do you want to keep in touch by phones calls or emails, texts or visits?
Most expectant mothers choose adoption because they’re looking for some form of openness. So don’t disappoint her. Include details about what kind of relationship you want to have with her after the adoption and how you see yourselves fitting into each other’s life. Give her a reason to choose you.
Actionable tip: State clearly what level of contact you’re hoping to have with a prospective birthmother after the adoption and how you see your relationship unfolding.
Connecting with a prospective birthmother doesn’t happen overnight. It takes time and a lot of effort. One way to give your profile traction and increase your chances of finding a match is to put yourself in an expectant mother’s shoes, determine what she wants to know and to deliver it as best you can.