In a domestic infant adoption, hopeful adoptive families will have to find a woman who is considering placing her child for adoption. Finding the right prospective birth mother to adopt from is probably the most important step of the entire adoption process, as everything else is a result of this decision.
Some adoptive families already know a birth mother before they go into their adoption journey. For others, a large part of the process is finding a birth mother whose desires match their own.
As a family in the beginning stages of adoption, you may be overwhelmed with questions of how to find a birth mother to adopt from; it may feel like a puzzle you can’t even begin to figure out.
The first step to completing this puzzle is to look at each of the pieces and arrange them into the type of adoption situation you are seeking. This is known as your adoption plan, and it may or may not involve an adoption agency helping you along the way.
How to Find a Birth Mother with an Agency
For adoptive families who do not already know a birth mother, it is often most convenient to seek the help of an adoption agency. Along with all the other services they provide, they will also help you find a birth mother for private adoption.
Building Your Adoption Plan
Your adoption agency will guide you through most of your adoption, but it’s still important that you know what to expect. Typically, the first steps of your agency adoption will include:
- Find an adoption agency
- Determine your preferences in a birth mother (adoption plan)
- Complete a home study
- Complete your adoptive family profile
- Begin the wait
Finding a Match
Once you have completed all the preliminary measures, you will be an active adoptive couple, and your profile will be shown to prospective birth mothers. The time between activation and being selected by a birth mother is known as the wait time. While there is no way to guarantee a short wait, you may reduce your wait time by being open to many variables in the birth mother’s situation, including:
- Budget for living expenses
- Medical history
- Substance abuse history
- Amount of contact with birth family
By being open to as many situations as possible, you will have a greater number of women to whom your adoption specialist may show your adoptive family profile.
Available Adoption Situations
Many adoptive families have found a birth mother through an adoption professional’s available adoption situations page on their website. These situations arise due to various factors, including the adoption professional not having the type of adoptive family the birth mother is looking for, the birth mother requiring additional financial assistance, and more. Click the following to find an available adoption situation with a prospective birth mother.
Benefits of Finding Birth Parents with an Agency
Adoption agencies exist specifically to help birth mothers and adoptive families on their journey, including:
- Agency adoptions offer most or all of the adoption services you need in one place.
- Agencies have matching services and can help you find a birth mother, and they will ensure that you both have the same desires and want to pursue adoption together.
- Birth mothers must be screened by agencies to ensure that they are safe to work with and committed to the adoption.
Agencies will offer counseling and support for both the birth and adoptive families, which can significantly lower the risk of a disrupted adoption.
Drawbacks of Finding Birth Parents with an Agency
For some families, adoption agencies might not be the best choice because:
- The costs of an agency’s matching services might increase your overall budget.
- The family may want a more “hands-on” approach to your adoption process, as an adoption agency will likely take over many of the steps of the process.
- Not all adoption agencies are created equal.
How to Find a Birth Mother on Your Own
Some couples pursuing independent adoption already know a birth mother and do not need an adoption agency’s matching services. However, if you are adopting independently and still need to find a birth mother, your options are varied.
Building Your Adoption Plan
Your adoption plan may not look the same as another independent adoption. The steps you have to take are somewhat different than in an agency adoption, and they can also happen in a different sequence. However, your plan may follow these steps:
- Find a birth mother to adopt from
- Find an adoption professional
- Find counseling and support
- Make sure you and the birth mother are a good match
Notice that whether or not you adopt independently, you will still need a professional to complete your home study, one of the most important steps in being an active adoptive family. You will also need an attorney to legalize the adoption.
Finding a Match
Independent adoptions can look different depending on the situation, but most adoptive families will find a birth mother through:
- Personal connections
- Social networks
- Adoptive family websites
- Print Ads
- Adoption attorney referrals
Benefits of Finding a Birth Mother without an Agency
Depending on what you want in your adoption, working on your own may be appealing in a number of ways:
- Independent adoptions are potentially more open than agency adoptions. Adoption agencies may keep some information confidential at the request of the birth mother, but in independent adoptions, the birth parents and adoptive parents may have already gotten to know each other.
- You will have more opportunity to contact the birth mother without the presence of an adoption professional.
- You will play a larger role in determining who you are matched with.
- For some families, independent matching feels more personal and helps them to feel more confident in their adoption.
- The overall cost of the adoption could be less expensive than with an agency adoption.
Drawbacks of Finding a Birth Mother without an Agency
Independent adoptions can also lead to some complications you may not find with an adoption agency:
- If you don’t have the right networking options, matching can take a very long time and cost a lot in advertising.
- Independent adoptive families may be more likely to experience an adoption disruption; and if they do, they are not financially protected.
- There is no screening requirement for birth mothers in an independent adoption, opening yourself up to situations you aren’t comfortable with or even fraudulent adoption opportunities.
- If you are seeking a closed or semi-open adoption, it is more difficult to keep your identifying information private when looking for birth mothers on your own.
As you move forward in your adoption journey, know that the process of finding a birth mother for private adoption may cause you anxiety and frustration at times. In time, though, the pieces of the puzzle will all fall into place.