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Signs The Adoptive Parents Are Right For You

Finding adoptive parents for your child is one thing. Finding the right ones, however, is something else entirely.

  • How do you know they’re a good fit for your child?
  • How do you know they’ll keep their word?
  • How do you know you can trust them?

The truth is, you don’t. As with any type of relationship, there are no guarantees. Just because you click with a couple wanting to adopt now doesn’t mean you’ll keep clicking with them in the future. Things change — and you and they will, too.

So is there anything you can do to increase your chances of success? The first thing you need to do is figure out what kind of parents you’re looking for.

  • What’s important for you when it comes to parenting?
  • What traits and characteristics do you value?
  • What kind of home do you want your child to grow up in and what kind of future do you want him to have?

A lot of it boils down to personal preferences and your own experiences. Think back on your own childhood.

  • What were some of the things you liked about the way you were raised?
  • What things didn’t you like?
  • What do you admire in other parents?

In the end, what you’re looking for probably isn’t all that different from what any other expectant parents is looking for: a loving, stable family that has common values and that will allow you to have an ongoing relationship with your baby.

Let’s break down that sentence word by word and explore what it means:

Loving. Every couple you read about will be loving. But how can you tell just how loving they are? Take a look at the way they describe each other and the language they use. Does their closeness and affection come through  in their letter and photos and does it seem genuine? If you can’t feel it in their words, check out their pictures. You shouldn’t have to look too closely. Either it’s there or it’s not.

Stable. An easy way to figure this out is just to look at the number of years they’ve been together. A couple that has been together for a long time will likely have weathered more challenges and transitions in their life than, say, newlyweds. Then again, there’s nothing to say that a couple with a 15-year-long marriage is more stable than one with 10 years. It all depends on how they adapt to new experiences and resolve their differences.

Common Values. People connect with other people because they have common goals, aspirations and values. It’s no different in adoption. If you’re Christian, chances are you’ll want your child raised as a Christian. If education is important to you, you’ll want to find parents who value education or have a background in it. When it comes to building a strong foundation, there’s no magic bullet. But this is as good a way as any.

Ongoing relationship. If you’re like most prospective birth mothers, you’ll want to have a relationship with your child after his placement. After all, you’ll not only want to know that your child is doing well, you want to see it for yourself. Take a look at the waiting parent’s letter: How do they handle the issue of openness? Do they discuss it freely or not at all? Does it sounds like they’ve given the topic a lot of thought and consideration or does it feel like it’s been added as an after thought?

Sometimes, you’ll need to read between the lines to figure out what a waiting couple is really thinking. But in this case, everything you need to know should be right there, spelled out in black and white.

Your Baby. Your baby is what has brought you and the adoptive parents together and is at the center of your relationship. But if he’s the only thing you have in common, it may be time to move on. Do the adoptive parents have interest in you too – and if so, how do they show it? Are they interested in hearing about your hopes and dreams? When you visit your doctor, do they ask you how your appointment went or offer to accompany you?

Some couples may be more shy or sensitive about your privacy than others. They may hesitate to ask you certain questions out of fear of offending you. And there’s nothing wrong with that, as you feel like you’re getting the support and assistance you need from them.

There’s never any guarantee that the couple you choose for your baby will be everything they say they are. And yet by asking the right questions and doing your homework you can improve your chances of finding a good match. Having shared values and interests are both good signs and can help you build a solid foundation for your relationship. But the best way to do that is to spend time together, in person, and to slowly earn each other’s trust through an honest and open dialogue based on mutual respect.

Pros and Cons of Looking Online

If you’re looking for adoptive parents for your baby, there is no shortage of places to find them, including our website. Adoption agencies, attorneys and facilitators  all have long lists of couples and singles who can’t wait to adopt.

But if you want more control over the process, you might want to follow the example of many expectant parents today: Go online and find them yourself. Connecting with hopeful adoptive parents through the Web has plenty of advantages.

But just like any tool, it has its share of risks as well.

The Benefits

Reach. Unlike most agencies and attorneys who work primarily with local hopeful adoptive parents, online you can access profiles of adoptive parents from all across the U.S.. This enlarges your pool of families to choose from and increases your chances of finding the one you’re looking for.

Choice. By and large when you visit an agency, you’ll be presented you with a limited number of families based on the preferences you’ve given them. On the internet, however, you can see as many profiles as you want, when you want, without anyone pre-screening them for you. If the choices on one site aren’t to your liking, you can simply move on to another.

Diversity. Some agencies have a certain philosophy or set of religious beliefs and will only work with clients who share them. Sites like ours don’t have those kinds of restrictions, which allows you to reach out to a wider range of adopting parents.

Accessibility. Offline, if you want to view a parent profile, you have to set up an appointment and meet with a professional face-to-face. By contrast, on the Web you do it any time, instantly and directly, with the click of a mouse.

Convenience. Finding an adoptive family for your baby is a stressful process. Doing it on the Web helps reduce some of the pressure by giving you the tools to conduct your search quickly and anonymously. No one has to know what you’re doing unless you tell them.

The Risks

Acting too quickly. Finding hopeful adoptive parents online is easy — sometimes too easy. Jumping into a situation before you’re ready could not only jeopardize an otherwise perfect match, it could create unnecessary problems for you and the people you contact.

Lack of professional guidance.  As with any life-changing decision, getting balanced, non-biased information about the adoption process is critical. Waiting parents you meet on the Web can’t help you with that. Only an experienced licensed professional can.

Selective number of waiting parents. Some states prohibit waiting parents from posting their profile online. That means that if you live there or are interested in finding parents from there, you have to go beyond the Web.

Limited information. Most online services, including ours, don’t meet with waiting parents. They simply post their profile online and have no information about them apart from what they’ve been given. And given that the profiles are written by the couples themselves, there is no way to vouch for the accuracy of the information.

Pushy parents. Some hopeful adoptive parents you meet online may be difficult to deal with and make unreasonable demands. An adoption professional can protect you from getting involved in an uncomfortable situation and can advocate on your behalf throughout the process.

Searching online can help you find adopting parents easier and faster. However, it could also create challenges for you if you dive into a situation too quickly or lack the necessary professional guidance and support. Working with an agency or an attorney won’t necessarily eliminate your problems, but they can often reduce them.

How To Create An Adoption Plan

If adoption is part of your baby’s future, it helps to have a plan.

Having an adoption plan doesn’t mean you have to follow it to the T. What it means is that you’ve carefully thought through your decision and have a strategy in place that could include placing your child your baby with an adoptive family.

Whether you go through with it or not is another matter. The important thing is that you’ve weighted all of your options and, for now anyway, adoption is one of the choices that you’re seriously thinking about.

In creating a plan, your first consideration should always be your baby. Some of the questions you might want to ask yourself are:

  • What kind of life do I want my baby to have?
  • What qualities and characteristics are important to me in an adoptive family?
  • How much contact do I want to have with my child as he gets older?

One way to decide what kind of life you want your child to have is to sort out your own priorities. What’s important to you? Is it religion? Education? A family that lives near you?

A lot will come down to your personal preferences. Start putting a list together and prioritize each item, from the most to the least important. Once it’s done, go through the adoptive parent profiles one by one. Each time you find something you like in a family, put a check mark beside their name.

When you’re finished going through all the profiles, add up all the check marks. The family that has the most check marks is likely the one you’re looking for.

But you still need to speak to them — and eventually, meet with them. After all, you want to make sure they’re everything you think they are. As you went through your profile, questions likely popped up. Jot them down and make sure you get all the answers you’re looking for.

If you’re satisfied they’re the right one for you, have your adoption worker create some guidelines about the kind of relationship you want to have with them after the adoption has been approved.

This will include the number and frequency of visits. Keep in mind that in most states, the terms of an agreement are non-binding. Still, it’s a good thing to have, if for no other reason than to create a framework for your future relationship together.

If, at any time, you feel that something’s not right and you no longer want to move forward with your adoption plan, don’t be afraid to put on the brakes. Try to get at the root of the problem: Is it the waiting parents or is it adoption?

You can always put off your decision until a later time. Before the birth of your baby, you can change your mind at any time. After the birth, you have the option of putting your baby in foster case while you re-consider your decision.

Just remember that adoption is permanent. Once you give your consent, it’s nearly impossible to get it reversed and get your baby back. Having a solid adoption plan in place will help you move forward and save you headaches and heartache.

How The Adoption Process Works

So you’ve decided to place your baby for adoption. Now what–do you simply give him to the first family you find?

Open adoption is a legal and social process that involves more than finding a family for your baby. (Although let’s face it, that is one of the most challenging parts). And while you can start it at any time, the actual approval can’t take place until after your child is born.

Open adoption laws vary from state to state. Interstate adoptions are allowed in many jurisdictions, but are more complicated because they’re governed by the laws of your state and those of the adoptive parents’.

In a nutshell, here are the steps of the open adoption process:

1. Do your research. Find out everything you can about the process and what it means. Speak to adoption professionals. Meet birth parents. Get a sense of what your role and responsibilities are.

2. Receive pre-placement counseling. Even if you don’t think you need it, getting counseling is one of the most important parts of the adoption process. And remember, it doesn’t cost you a penny, whether or not you decide to parent your baby.

3. Fill out your medical and family history. This will help your child’s adoptive family learn about you. And it could be useful in dealing with any predisposed medical conditions your child may have in the years to come.

4. Create an adoption plan. A plan will guide you through the process before and after you baby is born. Among the issues you’ll need to work out is how much contact you want to have with the adoptive family after the adoption takes place.

5. Find a family. On your own or with an professional, come up with a list of things you’re looking for in your baby’s adoptive parents. Once you find an adopting family that meets your needs, be sure to meet them face-to-face and create a plan in the best interests of your child.

6. Give birth. Because this will be a stressful time for you, try to make as many arrangements as you can beforehand. Things to consider: Do you want the adoptive parents to be in the delivery room with you and how much time do you want to spend with your baby?

7. Place your baby with the adoptive parents. In open adoption, this happens directly at the hospital, shortly after the baby’s birth. Once again, be sure to have a plan in place to help you deal with the emotional and physical aftermath of your delivery and the placement.

8. Give your consent to your child’s adoption. Depending on the laws in your state, you have anywhere from a few hours to a few weeks to relinquish your rights. Be comfortable with your decision because once it’s made there is no turning back.

9. Receive post-placement counseling. As an expectant parent, you have the option of seeing a licensed professional before the placement — and afterwards. Make sure you take advantage of it, even if you’re at peace with your decision.

10. Keep in touch with your baby and the adoptive family. Prior to the placement, put together a plan about what kind of contact you want to have with your baby’s adoptive family. Are you interested in visits? Emails? Photos? This may change over time, but try to set some boundaries early on.

Remember, these are guidelines. There’s nothing that says you can’t change them around. For instance, some expectant parents say finding a family at the outset helped put their mind to rest. As with so much about the adoption process, many of the decisions about what to do and when to do it are completely up to you.

Is Adoption Right For You?

Sometimes life throws you a curve ball.

One moment your life seems set and stable, almost to the point of being boring. And the next thing you know something comes along and changes everything.

An unplanned pregnancy is like that. The good news is you have options. And one of them is adoption.

Adoption is a choice. The question is, is it the right one for you? Different people choose adoption for different reasons.

There’s no one-size-fits-all answer. Generally speaking, expectant parents turn to it because they want to give their child the best future they can. That’s because

  • They lack the financial or emotional resources to raise a child
  • They want their child to be raised in a two parent family
  • They want to continue with their school or work and being a parent would interrupt that

Your particular set of circumstances and reasons may differ from these, and that’s alright too. There’s really no right or wrong reason.

At the end of the day, placing your baby for adoption is a deeply personal decision. One that you–-and only you-–can make.

That said, it’s advisable to include your baby’s father and/or a family member in the decision-making process as much as possible. They can give you a second opinion and ease the weight on your shoulders.

Depending on your circumstances, that may not be possible. The truth is, many expectant mothers choose adoption for this very reason–because they lack the support to raise a child. So if you’re feeling alone or confused or overwhelmed, you’re not alone. 

As an expectant parent, you can have as much or as little input in finding a home for your baby as you want. For example, if you choose a closed adoption, you don’t have to share information about yourself or have contact with your child’s family.

In open adoption, on the other hand, you have the option of playing an active role both before and after your baby is born. For instance, you can

  • Choose a family for your baby
  • Create an adoption plan for your baby with them
  • Have an ongoing relationship with them and your baby after the adoption is finalized

In other words, open adoption doesn’t mean goodbye. It doesn’t mean you’ll never see your baby again. And it doesn’t mean you’re a bad person or that your baby will grow up hating you. Before you make any decision, you’ll need to

  • Get information, counselling and support
  • Find out what your rights are
  • Not let anyone push or pressure you into making a choice before you’re ready

In addition to reading up on everything you can, be sure to connect with other birth parents who have gone through the process. Because they’ve been in your shoes, they can tell you what’s involved and what to expect. You can find them online through blogs, websites or discussion groups or through an agency.

As an expectant parent who is considering adoption, the process is free for you, whether go through with your plan or not. In some states, you can even get financial assistance for some of your living and medical expenses.

So be sure to find out what’s covered and what isn’t. Open adoption isn’t without its challenges. By finding out how the process works now, you’ll have a better chance of making it work for you and your baby in the years to come.