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3 Signs an Adoptive Family Isn’t the Right Fit – Thoughts from a Birth Mother

Choosing the right family for your baby is so important in adoption. Adoptive parents are not only adding a newborn into their life, but a birth mother as well to some extent. A prospective birth mother who is looking at adoptive family profiles has many things to consider when choosing who her child’s adoptive parents will be. Some of the factors that go into this decision include parenting style, religious beliefs, education choice, and friend and family support available. Make this decision wisely, don’t take it lightly, and read the following signs that a potential adoptive family isn’t the right fit for you:

1. Different Sets of Values

There are so many different values that we hold dear to us. We have individual beliefs about things like how we should parent, what school our kids should go to, what the healthiest diet is, who stays home and who goes to work in a partnership, etc. Even if we have similar values, the character of everyone is different and beliefs mesh to form that. While there will always be variety in the different values of a prospective birth mom and potential adoptive parents, there are main points that should not be compromised on.

When considering adoption as a birth mother, you probably have at least in your head a list of requirements that prospective adoptive parents must meet before you will consider placing your baby with them. On that list may be a specific parenting style that you prefer your child to be raised with, certain spiritual and religious beliefs you may want upheld, or other lifestyle preferences. After narrowing down your search demographically, these things will be next on your vetting list.

If you find that the values you want your child to be raised with are very different from what you are looking for, it may be time to move on from that potential adoptive family. While there must be some compromise on the end of the birth mother, that doesn’t mean that she should ignore her desires. The truth is, until relinquishment, the baby is still the legal responsibility of the birth mother. It is up to a birth mother to make the right choice in adoptive parents for her child.

2. Struggle to Communicate

Transparency, communication and respect are a few of the characteristics of a relationship within the adoption triad for its outcome to be successful. There must be effort put forth by all parties to make the relationship work when it comes to adoption. Birth mothers and adoptive couples must define their boundaries and needs early on to know if they will be a good match for each other. This communication will be vital for the life of the child who is being placed for adoption. In an open adoption, relationships will evolve over time between the members of the adoption triad, and without a solid foundation in communication, there will be turmoil at times.

If a potential birth mother finds that it is a constant struggle for her to communicate with the prospective adoptive parents, then this could be a sign that there may be a better fit in a different couple. This could take the form of not feeling like she can open up emotionally to feeling like she is compromising on too many values that she wants for her child. If a prospective birth mother feels that communication is a struggle, then it may be a sign that it is time to move on and choose a different prospective adoptive family.

3. Post-Placement Contact Disagreement

An open adoption means that there will be some level of communication throughout the rearing of the birth child between the child and the birth mother. This may take the form of pictures, phone calls, visits, updates, etc. Frequency depends on a lot of factors, including the comfort level of the birth mother and adoptive parents, needs of the child depending on his age and maturity, and what the child desires. The agreement for type and frequency of contact is created before relinquishment. This agreement is often done in writing for both the birth mother and adoptive parents to have to guide them through the next 18 years. The post-placement agreement will outline the minimum post-placement requirements for the adoption triad.

The post-placement agreement is very important, and will mean a lot to a birth mother who is choosing to place her child for adoption. This agreement may or may not be legally upheld depending on the state in which the agreement was made and where she is living. If a birth mother and adoptive parents cannot come up with a mutually agreeable contact agreement, it is very likely time to move on to the next prospective adoptive couple. There are a lot of sacrifices that are made on behalf of a birth mother who chooses adoption, and I wouldn’t recommend compromising on the post-placement agreement.

When It’s Time to Move On

Although it may be difficult for a birth mother to let go of the prospective parents she has been getting to know due to one of the above issues, it is important that she is sure with who she chooses. A prospective birth mother who is considering moving on to another adoptive family may feel guilty about her choice.

However, when it comes to choosing the right adoptive family, is it worth compromising the life of the child who is being placed for adoption? Don’t hold on to the mistake of choosing the wrong prospective adoptive parents due to feeling obligated to give them a baby. Trust your gut. This is an important decision, and it’s important that a birth mother have peace about it.

~Lindsay Arielle

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.