And yet despite their differences, I’ve found that when it comes to reaching out to prospective birthparents and finding a match, they often fall into two distinct categories: those who want to adopt and those who wait to adopt.
Below are some of the traits I’ve noticed. Do you recognize yourself in either of these lists? In the comments section below, I’d love to hear your thoughts about what you think are the key differences between prospective adoptive parents who want to adopt and those who wait to adopt.
Want to adopt
- Take a hands-on proactive approach to every aspect of their adoption journey from start to finish
- Don’t take no for answer or let anything get in their way; when one door closes they know another one will open
Are always on the go and have a long to-do list of things that need to be done right away
Are constantly looking for new ways to spread the word about their profile and increase their chances of finding a match
Are up to date on the latest social media tools and use them extensively in order to get out their message in front of prospective birthparents and move their adoption forward
Are actively involved in online discussion groups and on the look-out for new leads and information
Educate themselves on all aspects of open adoption by reading blogs and websites by birthmothers, adoptive parents and adoptees
Regularly update their family and friends through their Facebook page, blog or website about the latest developments in their adoption journey and encourage them to share their page and profile with prospective birthparents
Aggressively explore new means of expanding their network in the hopes of finding new adoption situations and the match that’s right for them
Their networking efforts are inextricably woven into their daily life; they include pass-along cards in all of their correspondence, including their Christmas cards
Have no hesitation contacting their agency on a regular basis to find out how often their profile is being shown, to whom, and about the feedback it has received
When their adoption workers don’t return their calls or emails, they’ll keep contacting them until they get the answers they’re looking for
Constantly tweak and update their profile because a) it keeps them busy and b) they know that when it comes to their outreach efforts every little bit counts
Are resourceful in finding new ways to speed up the matching process and adaptable, too; are willing to adjust their openness towards a child’s race, age and exposure to drugs and alcohol if necessary
Don’t dwell on the setbacks or rejection; getting turned down just makes them more motivated to succeed
Adopting a baby is both a mission and a project for them, one that they focus on 24/7 and where no stone is left unturned
Wait to adopt
Are interested in finding an adoption match but don’t want to rock the boat
Are willing to sit it out and wait until they’re contacted by their adoption worker about a possible situation
Don’t take a proactive role in networking their profile; they may have a Facebook page but don’t post regular updates
Although they’re curious about whether their profile has gotten any bites, they don’t pepper their adoption worker with phone calls and emails on a regular basis
Believe that if a new situation did come up, their worker would tell them about it
If they don’t hear back after contacting their worker they let it go because they know that their worker is busy with things and contacting them again would be “rude” and presumptious
Take a more philosophical approach to the matching process, believing that when the time is right a connection will come
Keep their adoption journey to themselves rather than “bother” their family and friends about it
Continue living their life the same way they did before they started the adoption process rather than putting everything on hold and focusing exclusively on becoming an adoptive parent
Will occasionally surf online adoption chat groups but prefer to watch from the sidelines rather than actively participant
Don’t react well to setbacks or have an easy time shrugging off bumps in the road
Are satisfied with the information they’ve received from their adoption professionals and don’t see any reason to increase their knowledge or understanding for the time being
Plan to do more reading and research after they find a match
Can you guess which group is more successful? Which one finds a match first and faster?
Because the “Want to Adopt” prospective adoptive parents are more engaged in the networking process and tend to have more control — or at least strive to have more control — over it, they’re usually the ones who end up getting contacted first.
That doesn’t mean their approach is better than the one taken by prospective adoptive parents waiting to adopt. Just different.
After all, it stands to reason that if you’re the type of person that tends to take a wait and see approach to other aspects of your life, chances are you’ll take the same approach to open adoption.
What’s more, although the “Wanting to Adopt” prospective adoptive parents may be the first to find a match because they put out all the stops in their outreach efforts and don’t mind being the squeaky wheel, they also face a lot more stress and wear and tear, especially when their outreach efforts don’t convert into concrete leads.
So as appealing as their single-minded networking approach may seem on the surface, after a while it can take a toll and doesn’t come without a price. I’m sure their adoption professionals will have a lot to say about that!
The other thing to keep in mind is that for all their differences, these two groups are more alike than they initially may appear. Prospective adoptive parents who are waiting to adopt also want to adopt, of course. They just go about it in a different way.
Many of these characteristics are interchangeable and can be applied to both groups.
For instance, just because the “Waiting to Adopt” prospective adoptive parents may adopt a more laid back approach in their networking efforts does mean that they won’t roll up their sleeves and take a more active or aggressive role in other aspects of their adoption journey.
At the end of the day, what it really boils down to is your comfort level — how badly do you want to adopt, how involved do you want to be in the outreach process, how much of it do you want to outsource to others, and what approach works (or doesn’t work) best for you.
After all, one of the reasons that many hopeful parents hire their adoption professionals in the first place is to guide them through the process and help them find a match. So when it comes to reaching out to prospective birthparents, they don’t see anything wrong with getting out of the way and letting their workers do the jobs they’ve been hired for.
For them, there’s no big hurry. All that extra work isn’t going to make a difference in the long run anyway. And besides, they have lots of time to get involved later, after their adoption is finalized and they become parents. So if that works for them, how’s to argue with it?
What type of prospective adoptive parent are you? What approach are you taking to your networking efforts? Do you prefer to wait and see what happens or are you taking a more active role in influencing the outcome? Share your comments in the space below.