Questions to Ask Adoptive Parents During Your First Meeting
Getting to Know the Adoptive Family
The excitement of choosing a family for your child is followed by some nerves when it comes time to meet the adoptive family for the first time. You are going to experience the adoption journey together, which means your initial meet-and-greet is an opportunity to come up with questions to ask the adoptive family and begin building the foundation for a lifelong relationship.
Here’s how you’ll prepare to meet the adoptive parents for the first time:
- You and your adoption specialist will list out open-ended questions to ask the adoptive family to help get the conversation going and break the ice.
- We will help you formulate a list of adoption interview questions that can help you better understand why they are choosing adoption.
- Talk about yourself – the adoptive family you choose wants to know more about you, too.
Because this is no ordinary relationship, getting to know the adoptive family early in your open adoption is a great way to bond during the adoption process and ensure you remain in lockstep both during and after the completion of your adoption.
Through open adoption, the family you choose to parent your child will continue to be an important fixture in your life, just as they will be for your child. Your connection with the adoptive family and your child is long-term and because of open adoption, you will get to know each other on a deeper level.
If you are interested in getting to know your baby’s 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 prospective birth mothers and adoptive parents compare the first phone call or meeting to a first date, with similar exciting yet uncomfortable feelings as both parties search for similar interests. However, while you may be nervous to talk to or meet an adoptive family for the first time, this is also an exciting opportunity. This is a chance for you to ask any questions you have and confirm whether or not they’re the right parents for your child.
Most times, your first conversation with adoptive parents will take place through a conference call or in-person meeting. There are other forms of communication you can utilize depending on your comfort level. To get more information on how to meet the adoptive family for the first time, call one of our adoption specialists at 1-800-ADOPTION or visit us online.
For now, here is a description of both kinds of pre-adoption contact and what to expect when you meet couples that want to adopt:
- Conference Call: We refer to your first phone call with adoptive parents 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 another 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 kind of questions to ask adoptive parents and what to expect.
Remember, even before this first conversation, you will have already “met” the adoptive parent(s) through their adoptive family video profile. This will help you know them a little better before the phone call or meeting and will allow you to prepare some interview questions to ask adoptive parents.
If you’re considering adoption or if you’re early in the adoption process, you can begin viewing available family profiles online.
Here are some additional tips to help you get to know the adoptive family, as well as some questions to ask prospective adoptive families when meeting them.
Good Questions to Ask Adoptive Parents
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 for what to expect when you meet an adoptive family for the first time.
To help you get started, here are a few questions to ask potential adoptive parents:
Introductory Questions to Ask an Adoptive Family:
- How did you initially meet?
- How would you describe your personality?
- How would you describe your relationship? What qualities do you admire in each other?
- 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 childcare plans?
- Are you religious? What are your values and your beliefs? How do you plan to share those with my child?
- How important are 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?
Adoption Questions to Ask the Adoptive Parents:
- How did you know you wanted to become a parent? What made you choose adoption?
- 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?
As you can see, not all of the adoption interview questions you ask have to be directly related to the adoption.
It’s often best to start with some of the more open-ended questions to ask adoptive parents about their relationship, daily lives and interests before talking in more depth about their adoption plans and goals. Asking these types of casual interview questions for adoptive parents can help you all break the ice and feel more comfortable before discussing the details of the adoption.
It’s also okay if you don’t get to all of your questions to ask adoptive parents during that first conversation. You aren’t limited to one pre-placement phone call or meeting! If you feel good about the family after your first call with them, you can continue to get to know them during your pregnancy and adoption process. It may be helpful to write down your top 10 questions to ask adoptive parents before your first call so you don’t forget to get the answers that are most important to you.
To get more information on good questions to ask the adoptive family, call us at 1-800-ADOPTION and speak to an adoption specialist ready to provide you with tips for your first meeting with the adoptive family.
Questions Not to Ask Adoptive Parents
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. 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 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 — the adoptive parents want to get to know you, too!
- 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 your decision.
If you’re ever unsure about what questions to ask an adoptive family and what questions to avoid, you can always run them by your adoption specialist first by calling 1-800-ADOPTION.
Talking with Adoptive Parents about Yourself
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 as you meet couples that want to adopt. 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 okay to feel nervous — this is a big step in your life, and choosing the right adoptive family is very important. As you meet potential families to adopt your baby, make sure you ask all of the adoption interview questions you are interested in knowing to ensure you have chosen the right adoptive family for your baby.
The relationship you build with the adoptive family is special and can result in a lifelong open connection to both the adoptive parents and your child. Carmen found her perfect family and immediately felt a profound connection to them, which continues today.
“I spent several weeks combing through what must have been dozens of wonderful families. Then, I found them — the couple that I immediately felt connected to,” she said. “Once we found each other, it was as if we were attending a normal family get-together. We laughed and talked and enjoyed each other’s company,” Carmen remembers. “I grew to know and care for them — not only as the couple that would become the parents of my unborn son but as friends and family.”
Because many of our adoption professionals are adoptees, adoptive parents and birth mothers, we can help you prepare for the initial meeting with a prospective adoptive family.
There are many questions to consider when looking for adoptive families — and we know that this can be an overwhelming decision to make. Remember, your adoption specialist is always available for support. Call her any time at 1-800-ADOPTION.
“I am available to answer any questions that arise, particularly from birth moms, as I have been in your shoes and know how you are feeling.”
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