How to Choose Adoptive Parents – Thoughts from a Birth Mother
Prospective birth mothers have the honor of choosing who will adopt their baby. No matter what a woman’s preferences are for a prospective adoptive family, she will find that there are large pools of applicants who would love to meet her needs. So many waiting families are out there. So, whether you use a local adoption agency in your area, or if you use a national adoption agency like American Adoptions, you should be encouraged knowing that your perfect match could be out there.
Choosing adoptive parents for baby is the sole responsibility of the prospective birth mother, and she can always change her mind about whom her baby will go home with up until finalization.
Why Choosing Adoptive Parents is an Honor
I personally considered it an honor to choose the parents who would raise my child and take on the responsibility of mother and father for my son. I consider this step in the adoption process an honor because it is one of the biggest decisions a woman can make for her child during adoption — besides the decision for adoption itself. Not only are the adoptive parents the ones who will bring the baby home, they are also the ones who will be responsible for the baby for his or her entire upbringing.
As a mother, I trusted my instincts when it came to choosing the parents my child would have and felt privileged to be able to do that for my son. It’s not a responsibility that should be taken lightly.
How Are Adoptive Parents Screened?
There are quite a few steps that a potential adoptive family must go through before they can even create an adoptive profile for prospective birth mothers to view and choose from.
One of the most intense screening processes that prospective adoptive families go through is the home study. A home study evaluates the prospective adoptive family as a unit, and as individuals, to determine if they are ready to take on the responsibility of adopting a child. Regardless of whether this is their first child, or if a family has other children, prospective adoptive families go through a screening process to prove that they are fit to parent.
If you are wondering about what screening processes your adoption agency utilizes, be sure to ask your adoption professional. You can also ask an agency how they screen prospective adoptive families before you commit to working with them.
Factors to Consider When Dreaming of Your Perfect Adoptive Family
That’s right, I said “perfect.” I meant it, too. As a woman who went through an adoption, I can tell you that I had big dreams for my child and his future. I wanted to make sure that I found a family that could not only provide my child with educational and growth opportunities but also a family that would encourage my child to become everything he has the potential to be. Talk about dreaming big! Guess what? I found them. My child is being offered opportunities he would have never had if I had chosen to parent him, and I’m so grateful for his parents.
It’s important that every prospective birth mother decide for herself, with her own motherly instincts, what kind of life she is dreaming of for her child. Some of the factors that a prospective birth mother will want to consider include:
- Do I want my child to be an only child? Or maybe have older or younger siblings?
- Do I want my child to live within a certain distance from me?
- Do I want my child to grow up by certain landforms? Like the ocean, the mountains, the coast, or in a different area of the country?
- Do I have preferences on parenting styles? Discipline?
- Do I want my child to be raised in a specific religion, culture or lifestyle?
- Am I concerned about educational and extracurricular opportunities for my child?
- What kind of post-placement relationship do I desire to have with my child after placement?
No matter what factors are important to you, make sure you convey your desires to your adoption professional as you both work together to create an adoption plan.
The Role of an Adoption Professional
Prospective birth mothers who utilize an adoption agency will have their own adoption professional to work with. Your adoption professional will create an adoption plan with you, which includes the desires you have for your ideal prospective adoptive family.
As you create the adoption plan, don’t be afraid to include all the factors in adoptive parents that are important to you. Your adoption professional is the one who will help guide you in creating this plan and helping to match your desires with real waiting families.
Once an adoption professional has all the information regarding prospective birth mother’s preferences for a potential adoptive family, she will begin the matching process. Depending on the size and reach of the adoption agency, your adoption professional will pull a number of potential adoptive family profiles for you to view. A national adoption agency will have a much larger pool of applicants, while a local agency will have a pool of local families. Either way, your adoption professional will be the one to help find you the ideal adoptive family for your baby.
How Do You Choose Which Adoptive Family to Meet?
I remember looking at prospective adoptive family profiles, and I also remember feeling positive about which profile I wanted to choose. My adoption professional connected me with four profiles and asked me to choose two, but I only chose one. I will never forget the smiles on the faces of the couple that I ended up meeting later that week and choosing as parents for my child a few weeks later.
If you come across a profile that you feel good about, let your adoption professional know. On the other hand, if you don’t like the profiles you have been offered, then don’t choose any of them. Seeking out the right adoptive family for our children is too important. Don’t agree to meet anyone or commit to anyone if you are uncomfortable. However, if you like one or more profiles, go for it!
When Will I Know When I’ve Found Them?
This is a question I asked myself when going through my own adoption process. I’m sure many women ask themselves this question. After all, how do you know when you have found the perfect adoptive family for you and baby? The answer is simple: You will just know.
The best advice I can give for choosing the right adoptive family is to always trust your gut and your moth erly instincts. There is a difference between making a compromise with your adoption plan and settling for an adoptive family you don’t feel confident about. If you meet a family and don’t connect with them, please be honest with your adoption professional. There is time for you to find the right family, but if you are not honest about your level of comfort, then there is no way for your adoption professional to know how to guide you in moving forward.
The bond that forms between a prospective birth mother and the chosen adoptive family is indescribable. Sometimes quickly, sometimes slowly, an unbreakable bond is formed when the connection and chemistry are right. A prospective birth mother will know whom to choose to raise her baby when she knows. There is no right time or expectation on when a woman should make her decision, except that it is ultimately her choice.
Prospective birth mothers: trust your instincts, take the responsibility of choosing adoptive parents seriously, and enjoy the process and bond that you will experience with your chosen adoptive family.
Lindsay is a guest blogger for Considering Adoption. She placed her son for adoption 7 years ago and hopes to use her experience to support and educate other expectant mothers considering adoption, as well as adoptive families.