– The Adoption Process: Part 3 of 5
If you have decided to grow your family through adoption, you have a long and exciting journey ahead of you. This five-part series is meant to give you the basics on the main steps of the process. Today, we are going to cover the third component of your journey: finding and getting to know the birth mother.
First, you will need to create an adoptive family profile to send out to prospective birth mothers. After you have been selected by a birth mother, you can begin pre-placement contact. Read the sections below to learn about this step of the process.
How do I Find a Birth Mother?
At the beginning of your adoption journey, you and your adoption professional will discuss your preferences for birth mother situations. When you are considering what you are and aren’t open to, try to be as flexible as you can – if you are accepting of more situations, then more birth mothers will be potentially able to select you.
You are also encouraged to begin your home study as soon as possible. Once it is completed, you will be officially ready to adopt a child.
As you work on your home study, you can begin looking for an adoption opportunity by creating your Adoptive Family Profiles. Profiles are a great way to introduce yourself to many birth mothers and help them imagine what life would be like for their child in your family.
Adoptive Family Profiles typically come in the form of a print brochure that will contain information on your home, community, and lifestyle, along with pictures of your family. Families who work with American Adoptions also create video profiles, which give you the opportunity to express your true self.
Once you have been selected by a birth mother, you will officially be part of an adoption opportunity!
How do I Get to Know the Birth Mother?
Your first conversation with the birth mother will most likely be in the form of a phone call, which will be mediated by an adoption specialist. From there, you can continue to correspond through phone calls, emails, and even a trip to visit the birth mother.
This period of time will also be an opportunity for you to discuss your future relationship with the birth mother. Do you want an open adoption? Semi-open? How often will you send updates? Do you want to meet in person after the adoption?
Also take the time before the baby is born to get to know the birth mother and let her get to know you. By forming a relationship before the adoption, you can both feel more comfortable with one another and have an even more positive adoption experience. Here are some tips for getting to know a prospective birth mother:
- Be open to talking about yourself – The birth mother will likely want to know as much about your day-to-day life as possible. The more she gets to know you, the better she will be able to imagine her baby in your home.
- Ask questions that show you care – Your child’s birth mother plays an important role in your family, and she’s making a very difficult decision. Ask her how she’s been feeling through the pregnancy, whether she likes her doctor, and what kind of life she imagines for her baby.
- Avoid intrusive questions – Some questions are not appropriate to ask a birth mother unless she has volunteered the information. Stay away from topics like the circumstances of her pregnancy, the birth father, or her medical background.
Even if you’ve found an adoption opportunity, an adoption is not official until the birth mother consents to the adoption after the baby is born. Learn more about the hospital trip and relinquishment tomorrow in part four of the adoption process!