Aside from choosing to pursue adoption for your baby, selecting the right family may be the hardest choice you have to make throughout the adoption process. It may seem daunting, but when you find the perfect parents for your child, you can be assured that he or she will grow up living the life you imagine for him or her.
Still, knowing where to start as you evaluate waiting adoptive families can be difficult. If you are feeling overwhelmed with parent profiles, consider these tips:
- List your priorities. Envision the dream life you’d like to provide for your child. What opportunities would he or she have? Would they have lots of siblings, or be an only child? Would they be raised in the city or in a more rural area? Using this scenario, determine the qualities you will prioritize when looking for an adoptive family. Maybe it’s important to you that your child is raised in a religious home, or maybe the opportunity to attend college will be a major factor in your decision. Whatever qualities you’re looking for in an adoptive family — religion, ethnicity, education, parenting style and beliefs, siblings, etc. — do your best to list them in the order that is most important to you. This exercise can help paint a picture of the type of parents you’re looking for.
- Break it down by family. Refer to your list each time you consider a set of prospective parents. See where each family matches with your wishes, where they don’t, and where you’re uncertain. Try listing the pros and cons of each family based on the qualities that you’ve determined are important to you. This may help you rule out some adoptive families and narrow your search.
- Form relationships. Reading profiles, looking through photos and even watching videos can be a great way to browse waiting families, but nothing lets you know an adoptive family like talking with them or meeting with them in person. When you’re ready, reach out to adoptive families that you’re interested in, or ask your adoption professional to coordinate contact with them on your behalf. As you get to know a family better, see whether you feel a strong connection with them.
- Ask questions. Ask questions to get a better understanding of prospective parents’ relationship, work and personal lives, religion and values, parenting style and their hopes and plans for the adoption. Compare their answers to your list of priorities to gauge whether you’re a match in the areas that matter most to you.
- Use your resources. As a pregnant mother considering adoption, you are entitled to counseling and support throughout the adoption process. Talk to your adoption counselor about your hopes and dreams for your child. If you need help identifying your priorities or suggestions for talking with adoptive families, don’t be afraid to ask for guidance. Your adoption professional may also be able to put you in contact with other birth parents who can talk with you about their experiences with finding the perfect adoptive parents for their child.
- Do what feels right. Making lists and organizing your search is great, but in the end, there is no formula to find the “perfect family.” As important as it is to carefully think through your decision and weigh all your options, adoption is an emotional journey, and choosing your child’s adoptive family is an emotional choice. Trust your instincts, even if they don’t always align with the list of priorities you made initially. What matters most is that you are comfortable and happy with your choice, regardless of how you arrived at your final decision.