Starting a family is one of life’s most important journeys. But when you’re trying to start one through open adoption, you need others to help you along the way.
While social workers and licensees can show you how to navigate the process and family members and friends can give you support, there’s another person you need to rely on: an expectant mother who is considering adoption for her baby.
But finding her and making a connection can be a challenge since every expectant mother has different wants and needs.
And yet despite their differences, they also have many qualities in common. Here are 10 of the most important things that expectant mothers with an adoption plan are looking for when choosing adoptive parents for their baby.
An expectant mother is looking for adoptive parents who will accept her unconditionally for who she is and the choices she has made.
What it means for you: Nobody grows up dreaming of having an unplanned pregnancy and placing a baby for adoption.
And so when the times comes, most expectant mothers are caught off guard, overcome with conflicting feelings of doubt, shame, anger, and confusion.
By recognizing that the woman who has connected with you is going through a turbulent time and giving her your unqualified encouragement and support, you can solidify your relationship with her in so many ways and help her get her feet back on the ground.
An expectant mother is looking for adoptive parents who can put themselves in her shoes and see things from her perspective.
What it means for you: Many waiting parents don’t know how to relate to a expectant mother with an adoption plan.
But once you set aside your assumptions and put yourself in her situation, things will become more clear.
Be patient and cut her some slack. If she doesn’t feel like talking about something or needs to lie low for a while, leave her be. Don’t pressure her.
She already has enough on her mind. Instead, give her the time and space she needs to sort things out and let her know that you’re thinking of her.
An expectant mother is looking for adoptive parents who will treat her as an individual, not a baby-machine.
What it means for you: An expectant mother who is exploring open adoption is no different than anyone else you’ve just met.
She wants to know that you’re genuinely interested in her as a person, rather than in what she can do for you.
Make sure your discussions don’t revolve solely around the baby or your needs.
Yes, her baby is what brought you together. But to create a genuine bond you need to find other points in common and build on them.
An expectant mother is looking for adoptive parents who will be open, honest and upfront with her.
What it means for you: Keep the lines of communication open and let her know that you’re always available if she’s looking for someone to talk to.
Placing a baby for adoption is a difficult, lonely process. Oftentimes, the mother-to-be will be cut off from the baby’s father and other family members.
Striking up a genuine friendship with her can be a game changer. The more you talk, the more naturally the conversation will flow. And the faster you’ll find your comfort level and develop your relationship.
An expectant mother is looking for adoptive parents who will keep in touch with her after the placement.
What it means for you: Most adoptions today have some level of openness ranging from letters to visits.
Open adoption benefits the child, but it also helps the expectant mother know that her child is loved and cared for. Plus, it reassures her that she made the right decision.
Focus on the present but don’t be afraid to talk about the future and how you see things working out.
Discuss what type of contact you want to have after the placement, and the frequency.
Try to be specific as possible. You don’t have to have all of the answers, but you should have some general ideas.
For instance, if you’re comfortable with phone calls but not visits, let her know that now to avoid potential problems down the road.
She may be open to more (or less contact) than you are, and that’s okay. Put everything on the table, knowing that things may change over time as your relationship grows and changes.
An expectant mother is looking for adoptive parents who are excited about adopting and becoming her child’s parents.
What it means for you: Be positive and upbeat.
Even though placing a baby for adoption is a heart-wrenching decision for a pregnant woman, she needs to know that you’re pumped about raising a child who doesn’t share your DNA.
Don’t be afraid to put your emotions on display and express how anxious (and ready) you are to become a parent.
Seeing the excitement in your eyes is another way for her to find peace with her decision and feel hopeful about the future.
An expectant mother is looking for adoptive parents who won’t forget her after the placement.
What it means for you: Even though the expectant mother is the centre of attention now, she worries about how you’ll regard her after she’s placed her baby in your arms.
Even though things are still up in the air now, let her know that you want her to be part of your life later.
The more you talk about the future now, the more real it will become, and the fewer surprises you’ll run into down the road.
An expectant mother is looking for adoptive parents who will stand up and advocate for her.
What it means for you: Placing a baby for adoption isn’t a popular choice. Most people don’t understand it; others will judge it.
As a result, it’s important that an expectant mother knows that you’re behind her and that you’ll go to bat for her if she encounters problems. And that goes for problems within her family and yours.
An expectant mother is looking for adoptive parents who will keep their word.
What it means for you: No matter how tempting it may be, avoid making empty promises. Or any promises at all.
Don’t say or do things just because you feel like you have to or because others are doing it or because it just sounds good.
Instead, go the extra mile and use the time leading up to the placement day to really get to know her.
The more comfortable you are with each other, the less you’ll need to lean on your adoption professionals or a piece of paper to keep your relationship moving forward.
An expectant mother is looking for adoptive parents who will love her.
What it means for you: Being open and agreeing to keep in touch through texts, emails, phone calls and visits is great.
But at the end of the day, what an expectant mother is really looking for is love. Love for her. Love for the decisions she has made. And, of course, love for her baby.
She wants to feel like she’s a member of your extended family rather than somebody who you once needed but no longer have any use for.
Connecting with an expectant mother with an adoption plan is one of the hardest parts of the open adoption process. But by knowing what a mother is looking for and acting on it, you can increase your chances of creating a genuine, loving relationship with her that will serve you for years to come.
Are you looking to increase your online presence with expectant parents or looking for adoptive parents for your baby. Check out our adoption profiles.
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