You sit at the table in front of your computer, scrolling through profiles of families on an adoption website. Their smiles are radiant as you click through the slideshow of their lives, reading happiness in their eyes as each photo passes. You can tell they are eager to adopt, and it even says so in their bio. Or perhaps, you’re on the other side of the adoption process, asking your agency about the woman from whom you’re thinking of adopting. The agent assures you she is healthy and in need of someone to adopt.
These are both situations in which you can most likely gain a fair amount of information regarding the other party. However, are you really seeing the whole picture? Or simply looking through a screen? In a perfect world, the adoptive parents and birth mother in an adoption would all be able to get together and get to know each other before deciding on moving forward.
To test this, I posed a set of seven questions to two Adoptive Parents to see what they had to say about their communication with the birth mothers in their respective adoptions. Going into these interviews, I was unsure whether to expect positive or negative responses – but I was surprised to receive such an array of responses. Their interviews are as follows:
- Can you describe the current status of your adoption process?
- Adoptive Parent #1 – “Our son is 3 years old. We finalized our adoption in March 2017.”
- Adoptive Parent #2 – “ We have had a successful adoption with [the] baby being in our care for 2 ½ weeks. We are currently waiting on the finalization at the end of […] September.”
- How much communication did you have with the birth mother before you chose each other? How about now? Did you have any points of disagreement with the birth mother?
- Adoption Parent #1 – “We had no communication with the birth mother before the adoption as it was a quick match and she didn’t want any communication. We were an agency match. Sadly there is still no communication with her. We never had any disagreements. We met her in the hospital after the baby was born. She was cold towards us and didn’t speak much and it broke my heart.”
- Adoption Parent #2 – “We were chosen as [baby’s] forever home about a month before [the] due date. We flew out the weekend after we were selected to meet birth mother and birth father. We had a wonderful visit with no disagreements. We currently text a few times a week to provide her with updates and check on her health after her c-section.”
- Were there any complications within the adoption process because of points of disagreement between the two parties?
- Adoptive Parent #1 – “No.”
- Adoptive Parent #2 – “No, we had a very successful adoption and were very fortunate to have great relationships with Birth mom.”
- What is something you wish you would have known before choosing a birth mother? What questions do you wish you would have asked?
- Adoptive Parent #1 – “Honestly there isn’t anything because each situation is so different and it is all so complicated and emotional. I just tried to follow my heart and show everyone kindness.”
- Adoptive Parent #2 – “We actually had a lot of communication with Birth mom prior to adoption so were able to ask all of our questions up front.”
- Which parts about the birth mother made you gravitate towards her in particular? What were some points of agreement between you?
- Adoptive Parent #1 – “We were an agency match. No agreements other than we promised to love and take great care of her baby boy.”
- Adoptive Parent #2 – “ We had many similarities with the birth mom. Both her and birth dad were around the same age as my husband and I. We adopted our first son from Kansas and wanted to have the same commonality of birthplace for both children. Birth mom was also living a clean lifestyle, no smoking, no drinking, and no drugs.”
- What advice would you give to other adoptive parents and birth mothers trying to choose each other?
- Adoptive Parent #1 – “Just to be patient and kind towards each other. Adoption is such a delicate thing and everyone needs to be considerate of the other person.”
- Adoptive Parent #2 – “We are very faithful people so put our situation in the hands of God. We know that what we experience is what God’s intended purpose is for our family. I would stick with your gut. You have to have an open mind and know that not every situation is perfect.”
- How important would you say getting to know the birth mother before choosing each other is? What kinds of questions would you recommend they ask each other?
- Adoptive Parent #1 – “Getting to know a birth mother is obviously awesome if it is possible. In our case it wasn’t possible. If I could have asked questions I would have just wanted to know about her, the things she likes, her childhood, her dreams for her baby. And how I could help her in any way through it all.”
- Adoptive Parent #2 – “I think getting to know the Birth mother prior to adoption is very important for several reasons. I think that it helps create the story for the adoptive child and helps build confidence that the birth mother is making the right decision. So many people commend the adoptive family for the wonderful thing they are doing and often forget the selfless most extraordinary act the birth mother is doing for the wellbeing of her child. I like getting to know the Birth mother for who she is! What is your favorite color, favorite food, hobby, etc. I also weigh the situation because some questions can be taboo and inconsiderate. I tread very lightly, and make the situation about the birth mom.”
As these wonderful adoptive parents answered above, this answer can vary from person to person – more proof of how unique each adoption is. So what are some questions you should be asking your potential birth mother or adoptive parent? Perhaps you are a birth mother that cares deeply about the religious background of your respective adoptive parent – in this case, it would probably be high on your priority list to inquire about any of the adoptive parents’ plans to raise the place baby in a religious environment. If you, as the adoptive parent, want to know if the birth mother is using substances that could harm herself or the baby during pregnancy, this would be a topic of discussion as well.
If you have chosen open adoption and communication is possible, here are some things to remember in reference to choosing an adoptive parent or birth mother:
- Before meeting with or being matched with an adoptive parent/birth parent, make sure to write down all the questions you have for them. Remember too, though, that more may come up.
- Be sensitive to what the other person has to say. Keep in mind that not everything both of you want out of the adoption experience will align, and make sure to note where you’d be willing to compromise and where you wouldn’t.
- Don’t force anything. If things are not going to work, accept that and graciously keep moving – this will save both parties from diving into the adoption head-first without being on the same page.
- If you are finding an adoptive parent or birth mother but have little to no communication, it can be hard, and sometimes even heartbreaking, as put by AP #1. Try to be compassionate and see the situation from their side. Remember, the most important aspect of adoption is giving a place baby a “forever home,” as AP #2 mentioned above. In a perfect world, things would work out so that all parties would be able to have a healthy amount of communication. Unfortunately, however, sometimes this is not possible, and although disappointing, can lead to a beautiful chance to start fresh with this place baby or with life in general.
Are you looking for an adoptive parent or birth mother to begin an adoption with? Contact Adoption Choices of Arizona today and we will help facilitate communication to get the process started!