If you have selected an adoptive family, either through an agency or your own resources, you and the family are now officially following the same adoption plan. This can be both a very exciting and nerve-wracking time because you want to make sure you have selected the best family for you and your child. But how can you be sure?
Many pregnant mothers want to learn more about the adoptive family before the baby is born, which helps them feel more confident in their choice of a family. If this describes you, there are several ways in which you may get to know the adoptive parents.
What is Pre-Placement Contact?
Communication with a prospective adoptive family by phone, email, or in-person before your baby is born is known as pre-placement contact. How much contact and what kind of contact you have with the family are up to you, but the most common options are:
- Phone calls – you may have a conference call with the family and an adoption specialist a week or two after being matched. Your adoption specialist will be present to help mediate the phone call when needed.
- Emails – email correspondence is a good way to keep each other regularly updated, without having to find a time that fits both of your schedules.
- Visits – meeting an adoptive family in person is the best way to gauge if they are the right fit for you and your baby. It is recommended that you meet the family at least once before placement, just to make sure you feel good about your selection of adoptive parents.
Many women prefer all three kinds of communication. How much contact you have with the family, as well as the kind of contact, is up to you.
Why Should I Have Pre-Placement Contact?
It’s uncommon for a woman in your position to have absolutely no communication with an adoptive family, but again, this is your adoption plan.
The majority of adoptions today are open or semi-open, and the birth parents and adoptive parents almost always want to get to know each other before the baby is born. The family’s profile can never fully capture their personalities and excitement, so this interaction can be an immense comfort to you.
The adoptive family will play a huge role in your life, so it’s essential that you make the absolute best decision. The things in their profile that attracted you to them, you want to make sure those things are present in your interactions with them as well. For many women, they can only feel 100 percent confident with their choice of family after getting to know them in person.
It will bring you great peace of mind to build a relationship with them, and pre-placement contact of any kind is a great way to start.
How Should I Talk to the Family?
The adoptive family should be sensitive to you and your feelings, but at the same time, you will want to be sensitive to theirs. Here are some things to keep in mind as you go into your first interaction with the adoptive family:
- Be considerate of their situation – Most families pursue adoption after struggling with infertility. Unless they bring it up on their own, try not to ask about their history of trying to become parents.
- Ask casual questions – While you don’t want to broach sensitive topics, especially during your first conversation, you should get the family to talk about themselves and share stories about their lives. This will help you get to know them as not just the adoptive parents, but as people with full and interesting lives.
- Share things about yourself – The family is probably just as curious about you as you are about them, so don’t be afraid to talk about yourself. If you’re comfortable, you can even talk about how your pregnancy has been going. Just remember that you don’t have to talk about subjects you don’t want to. You may want to talk about:
- Your hobbies
- Your family
- Favorite books or music
- Fun stories about you
If you are unsure of what to say, try some of these questions:
- What are some of your hobbies?
- How did you and your spouse meet?
- What’s your favorite thing about your neighborhood?
- What do you like best about your spouse?
- What are some of your favorite movies/books?
- What’s one of your favorite childhood memories?
- What’s your favorite place to go in your city/town?
- What kind of food do you like?
- What do you like to do in the summertime?
- What are some of your favorite vacation spots?
Above all, remember that these people are not just the prospective parents of your child, and they’re not just a print profile or a name on a legal document; they are people with a lot of the same hopes, fears, and desires that you have. Most importantly, they share your love for your child.
Pre-placement contact is all about building the foundation for the special relationship you will have with the adoptive family, so above all, simply enjoy the time you have of getting to know them, and make the most of it.