You’ve decided adoption is the best option for your baby. Now what? Maybe you’ve found an agency or pregnancy center that you are working with and can hold your hand through the details. Maybe you aren’t there yet but you’d like to get an idea of who might be looking to adopt a child. There are hundreds of thousands of families waiting to adopt who are waiting for moms just like you to find them. They may be refreshing their emails every few minutes hoping to find out there has been a match since they submitted their profile to their agency. They may think it is a long shot but they are hoping for a miracle. They may be hoping for someone like you to decide that they would be a good parent for your child. They may be hoping and dreaming of a tiny bundle of love to be delivered into their arms so they can provide a family and a lifetime of happiness to a small person they have never met before.
I love adoption. It is not often without heartache but adoption can be a beautiful thing where families are melded together to make a new unit. When you are in the process of deciding who might be the best fit there are some things you may want to consider about the families waiting to adopt. This is by no means an extensive list. You may find even more information if you attend an expectant mom’s support group or join a discussion on Adoption.com’s chat forums. There are many experienced people who are here to help you through what is likely to be for you, a less than ideal situation.
Some Things to Think About
Do their religious preferences matter to you? Are there religious rites of passage or traditional celebrations it is important to you that your child will experience them? It may or may not but make yourself aware of the family in question’s faith or lack thereof. There are many families with a variety of different beliefs.
Do your favorite childhood memories revolve around a Christmas tree or a holiday table and you can’t imagine your child growing up without that? Ask. Parents are often open to suggestions as well and knowing it is important to you will likely make it important to them. I’m not saying someone will change religions for you, but I wish I knew what kind of traditions were important to my kid’s biological families. It would be nice to be able to bring them in and make them feel included in the process of making traditions as a family unit. Although this is not to say we don’t have our own family traditions that are important to us. We have a stuffed toy reindeer that has been our tree topper since the first year my husband and I were married. He plunked it on the top of the tree as a joke and we liked it so much we decided to make it our tradition. The kids now think it is hilarious and are annoyed they don’t get to play with the reindeer but they are proud that it is our tradition.
Are you comfortable around them? That can tell you more than you might realize. Let’s say you have found a photo listing on Adoption.org that resonates with you. They seem like a lovely, smiley couple and their dog looks like one you had growing up. Would you want your child growing up with them? If you get to the stage where you meet them and you find yourself uncomfortable around them, you may want to consider another family. Depending on the level of openness of the adoption these are people you will likely need to interact with more than once. To be sure they are probably as nervous or more than you are so take that into account but don’t be afraid to step away if they just don’t seem like people you could see yourself meeting up with for sodas and a chat.
There is a saying going around about “two beers and a puppy”, and while I don’t drink, I do like soda so my version is “two cokes and puppy.” Basically, would you want to sit and chat over two drinks with them? Would you trust them with a puppy? Since a baby is a much bigger deal than a puppy, it can be very important that you feel like these are people you could trust at the minimum with a puppy. You may already know this but I figure you are probably feeling emotional and when I’m emotional I don’t always think clearly.
Families waiting to adopt are often attempting to put their best foot forward. They have probably spent months putting together cute pictures of their home, their pets, and themselves to present a package that makes you want to choose them. They have likely already spent hundreds of dollars just getting their profiles and home studies together for presentation. Don’t be blinded by flashy. The couple with the less professional-looking photo book may be fantastic people who just don’t have the creativity or the means to produce something similar to another couple who may be more tech-savvy or have a higher income. One suggestion is to try and search for the heart of the people who are wishing to make your son or daughter a part of their family. Find out what is important to them. Did they include a bunch of pictures of their dog for some reason? It’s probably safe to say they like dogs and are fond of theirs. You may learn a lot just with how you feel around them.
What are your expectations of the adoption? Do you want no further contact after your papers or signed? Would you like updates and pictures? Do you want to come to birthday parties? When you look at families waiting to adopt it can be important to consider these things. Nowadays open adoption is becoming the common way to go about adoption, but there could be reasons you would prefer less openness. Get to know the family and figure out what their expectations are versus what yours are.
Do you want your child to be an only child or would you like them to have siblings? Not every couple looking to adopt is doing so because of infertility and there may well be several siblings waiting at home eagerly to see their new brother or sister come home. Some people feel very strongly one way or the other and some really don’t care. Which are you?
Do you have any allergies? Are you allergic to dogs or cats? There is a chance your child could inherit that allergy. Be careful to find out if the family you would like to adopt your child has any pets. This doesn’t necessarily mean you shouldn’t enter into an adoption agreement with them, just be aware and make sure you let them know that you are allergic. This type of information is almost always welcomed.
What state do you live in and would you want to travel out of it to visit your child in the future (if that is an option) There are literally thousands of potential adoptive families listed on Adoption.com’s parent profiles from all over the United States. Some of them may come to you wherever you give birth, but if they live far away your level of contact is likely to be different than if you live down the street.
What are some questions you would like to ask families waiting to adopt? It might be a good idea to make a list of 10-12 questions to ask so when you are feeling awkward and can’t remember what you wanted to say you have a list in front of you. If you can’t think of any, there are multiple articles on Adoption.com about how to start a conversation and waht you can ask.
Do you want your child to “match” the family you choose to adopt them? This may not matter in the least to you, but some might like it if all of the kids had the same blonde hair for example. When I adopted my bunch I was open to whoever walked through my door and in the end, none of us match. This bothers my youngest daughter who desperately wishes her beautiful blonde curly hair was brown like mine. I try to reassure her she likely won’t feel that way when she’s older but she doesn’t care right now. She wishes we matched. We almost adopted a very redheaded little boy and one of his desires was a family that matched his hair. We were not it but the family that eventually adopted him actually did.
Something to keep in mind is that families waiting to adopt, almost any family listed, desperately wants to adopt your baby. Profile after profile outlines hopeful adoptive parents who may be dreaming of holding a child in their arms and making them their own. They are likely to do everything in their power to love him or her to the best of their ability. They are most likely spending time, money, sleep, prayer, and a certain amount of sanity to try and find an adoption match. I can say beyond a shadow of a doubt that my children are absolutely the joy in my life. They all came to me at different ages and through different circumstances, but they are a gift that I treasure daily. My life would be incomplete without them. There is a quote attributed to Jody Landers that goes : “A child born to another woman calls me mom. The depth of the tragedy and the magnitude of the privilege are not lost on me.”
You may be able to find that sentiment echoed in almost every adoptive family that you encounter. There is often loss but there is also often beauty. I cannot speak for every adoptive parent, but speaking for myself I will tell you that adoption has been the greatest gift to my family.
There can be a lot of factors to consider. The reasons you are considering adoption are personal just as the people you choose to parent will be a personal choice. I spent a good deal of time looking at adoption profiles to try and see if I would be able to pick one were the situation reversed. After a while it became an exercise in tedium. If I had 1000 babies that were in need of a home I could be assured of families who would unblinkingly step up with open arms. Unfortunately, not all of them are good people. Not every family is the right one, but I am sure that there can be a right one for your baby should you make that choice. There is often a great amount of love to be had for an expectant mom and her baby.
A family waiting to adopt will be ready whenever you are to become mom and dad to your little one. They may have diapers stockpiled and a nursery set up. Their eyes may well up with tears imagining the day they get to hold their new son or daughter in their arms. It is hard to believe how open people are about adoption these days when just a few generations ago it was so secretive. My own Daddy was in foster care for a time. I cannot imagine who he would be if someone had been as eager to parent him when he was small as the hopeful adoptive parents I meet today.
Thank you for considering adoption. As an adoptive mom, I cannot imagine loving my kids more, but I know that most parents who choose adoption for their child are making a loving sacrifice that I would most likely struggle to make myself were the situation reversed. Thank you for being open to the idea that a child could have a good life with someone besides yourself. Thank you for loving your child enough to give them a future, be it with you or a family of your choosing.