If you are interested in getting to know the adoptive family before the adoption, the first conference call or in-person meeting may at first feel a little intimidating. This is very common and natural.
Many feel the first phone call or meeting feels like a first date with similar uncomfortable feelings, as both parties search for similar interests. Here is a description of both kinds of contact and what to expect:
Conference Call: We refer to this as a “conference call” because your Adoption Specialist will connect both you and the adoptive family over the phone and will be present on the phone call. For the most part, she will not be involved in the phone call unless there are any lulls in the conversation. Conference calls are usually the first contact you will have with the adoptive family, but some adoption relationships may begin with an in-person meeting.
Meeting: A meeting before the birth of your baby, sometimes referred to as a “pre-placement meeting,” is the best way for you to get to know the adoptive parents. They will travel to your location, where you will likely have lunch or dinner together to discuss yourselves and the upcoming adoption. You may even tour the hospital during their visit. Your Adoption Specialist may or may not be there with you at the meeting. If she isn’t present, she will help you prepare in advance for what to ask adoptive parents, how to act, and what to expect.
Remember, you will have already “met” the adoptive parent(s) through their Adoptive Family Video Profile. This will help you know them a little better prior to the phone call or meeting and will allow you to prepare some interview questions to ask adoptive parents.
Here are some additional tips to further help you get to know the adoptive family, as well as some questions to ask prospective adoptive families.
While you probably have a lot of questions about your baby’s potential adoptive parents, it can be difficult to determine the best questions to ask an adoptive mother or father. If you are feeling nervous, it may be helpful to create a list of possible questions to ask prospective adoptive parents ahead of time. Your Adoption Specialist can also provide some suggestions and help you prepare.
To help you get started, here are a few questions to ask potential adoptive parents:
How did you initially meet?
How would you describe your personalities?
How would you describe your relationship? What qualities do you admire in each other?
How did you know you wanted to become parents? What made you choose adoption?
What is your neighborhood, school system and community like?
Do you have close relationships with any extended family members?
What are some of your favorite family traditions? Do you have any special family events or reunions?
What holidays do you celebrate? What are some of your favorite holiday traditions?
What were your childhoods like? Do you have any favorite childhood memories or stories?
What are your hobbies and interests? What do you like to do in your free time?
Do you have any pets?
Do you have any other children? Do you think my child will have siblings in the future?
What do you do for work? Do you like your job?
What are your work schedules like? Have you made plans for childcare?
Are you religious? What are your values and your beliefs? How do you plan to share those with my child?
How important is education and learning in your home? What kind of education do you plan to provide for this child?
What types of activities and interests are you excited to share with a child?
Has adoption affected your lives? Do you know anyone who was adopted, adopted a child or placed a child for adoption?
How do you plan to talk about adoption with this child? How do you plan to talk about me?
What is your parenting style like? What kind of parents do you think you will be?
What kind of relationship do you want to have with me after the adoption? What types of contact are you willing to have?
Have you had any experiences with open adoption?
Just as there are many good questions to ask adoptive parents, there are also some questions and topics to avoid during your initial phone call or meeting. Here are some suggestions to keep in mind as you get to know prospective adoptive families:
Avoid focusing on infertility issues the family has faced. This can be a very sad topic, as many adoptive families have spent years trying to become a mom and dad. It is important for you to know they have been through a lot and want to be parents. They will be forever grateful for the gift of parenthood you are giving to them.
Avoid planning a phone call or meeting when your day is busy and you aren’t able to block off extra time. If the call or meeting is going well, you may find that you’d like to talk longer than you anticipated.
Avoid making promises or agreeing to anything before you have had time to reflect. Say that you’ll definitely consider their ideas but would like some time to think about them and to talk with your Adoption Specialist.
Avoid asking too many detailed questions at first. While you might just be making conversation, it can come across as invasive. It’s a good idea to start by talking a little about yourself.
Avoid bringing anyone to the meeting who is unsupportive of your adoption plan. This will only make everyone feel uncomfortable. Later on, you can introduce people who you think are more accepting of adoption to the adoptive family of your baby.
Finally, remember that the prospective adoptive parents are excited to get to know you as well — they are probably just as curious, nervous and hopeful about this phone call or meeting as you are. Don’t be afraid to talk about yourself and share your goals and plans for your baby. Here are some tips to keep in mind as you interact with the adoptive family:
Tell them about your hobbies, your family, your interests and personality.
If you’re comfortable, talk about your pregnancy, doctor’s appointments and how you’re feeling.
If you’re nervous, you may want to make a list of interesting things to share about yourself ahead of time.
Talk to your Adoption Specialist for more information about what to expect and questions the adoptive family may have for you.
Remember that you don’t have to talk about any subjects that you don’t want to.
The main thing to remember is that it is OK to feel nervous — this is a big step in your life, and choosing the right adoptive family is very important. Make sure you ask all of the questions you are interested in knowing to ensure you have chosen the right adoptive family for your baby.
Remember, your Adoption Specialist is always available for support. Call her any time at 1-800-ADOPTION.
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