Your First Conversation With A Prospective Birthmother: How To Handle It

first-conversation-with-prospective-birthmotherIs there anything more stressful than reaching out and trying to make a connection with a prospective birthmother?

How about speaking to her on the phone for the first time after she’s seen your online parent profile?

You’ve jumped through so many hoops to get to this stage of your open adoption journey.

The last thing you want to do is say the wrong thing and strike out with the one person in the world who could make you a parent.

But you don’t have to. With a bit of care and preparation, you can get through your first phone conversation with a prospective birthmother with flying colours and get your relationship off the ground.

Here are some pointers to get you started.

The beginning of your conversation

What do you say to a person that you don’t know but who could be the mother of your future child?

Speaking to a prospective birthmother for the first time can be a tense experience, no question about it.

But rather than overthink it, treat it as if you’re connecting with a friend.

After all, the fact that she called you is a promising sign. If she wasn’t interested in you, she wouldn’t have called. Or she might have contacted by email, which though good, is not the same as reaching out by phone.

A phone call means that she liked what she saw in your profile and wants to know more. She wants to hear you.

Plus, it shows that she’s serious about finding adoptive parents for her baby.

Although part of your job will be to determine just how serious she is and — later, with the help of your adoption professional — that you’re not being taken for a ride.

Because one phone call doesn’t make an adoption. And just because she describes herself as a prospective birthmother doesn’t mean she is.

So, how do you begin? What’s the first thing you should say?

The same thing you would say to anyone you want to know better: “Hi! I’m so glad you called.”

Put yourself in her shoes for a moment. (And, for now, let’s assume that the person calling you is a pregnant woman with an adoption plan.)

She’s going through a crisis and probably doesn’t have a lot of support. She’s confused and not sure whether she’s doing the right thing.

It took a lot of guts for her to call you out of the blue. Your immediate goal should be to put her at ease.

After all, the more comfortable she is, the more she’ll open up. And the more you’ll be able to learn about her and assess whether she would be a good match for you.

Plus, if she does all of the talking, you won’t have to — because chances are, you won’t know what to say either!

So let her take the lead. There’s so much about you she already knows from your profile. However, you know nothing about her.

As in any first-time conversation, be prepared for awkward moments when you’ll hit an impasse and you’ll want to fill in the silence.

That’s ok. Go with the flow.

If you don’t want to take any chances, jot down some questions in a notebook beforehand and keep it nearby. This will keep the conversation flowing and cut down on the number of potential surprises.

When things do get awkward or tense, don’t be afraid to acknowledge it by letting the prospective birthmother know that you’re nervous, too.

One of the things you’ll want to do in your first conversation with her is find common ground. And what better way is there to do that than by sharing a laugh about how nervous you feel.

Always try to be warm and welcoming. And don’t drill her with all kinds of questions.

Many prospective birthmothers feel guilty about placing their baby for adoption. So try to comfort her and make her feel good about her decision and herself.

Build trust by asking questions about her and her pregnancy. Show her that you care — genuinely care — by focusing on her, not just her baby.

The middle of your conversation

Nice going — you’ve managed to get through the first and toughest part of your conversation. Although there were a few tense moments here and there, you’ve managed to find a rhythm.

Now the trick is to keep things going and build on the bond you’ve created.

There are so many things you will want to know, so many questions you will want to ask her.

Problem is, you won’t be sure whether you should ask them now or later. Or — because some of the things you want to find out about are a bit touchy, such as how does the baby’s father or her family feel about her adoption plan? — whether you should be asking them at all.

When in doubt, leave it out. You don’t need to find out everything. Remember, it’s just a conversation.

Your job is to listen and to hopefully make friends with her. Keep the conversation positive and upbeat and save the tough stuff for your adoption professional.

The end of your conversation

After you’ve made the most of the middle of your conversation, it’s time to wrap things up. Beginnings are hard, so are endings.

But hopefully by now, you’ve gotten a pretty good sense of her, how far along she is with her pregnancy and adoption plan, and whether you have a future together.

If things move smoothly, let her know how excited you are about adoption and becoming a parent. She’ll want to hear that.

And be sure to end your conversation on a high note. Tell her how great it was to speak to her and set up a time to talk again.

Eventually, you’ll create a schedule together. But for now, take it one conversation at a time. Ask her for her number. Don’t assume that she’ll remember to give it to you or that she’ll call back.

Congratulations. you just got through your first conversation with a prospective birthmother! It was hard, particularly at the beginning. But from here on in, if you continue to play your cards right, your conversations, and relationship with her, will only get easier.

What tips do you have speaking to prospective birthmother by phone for the first time? What worked for you? Share your comments here or on our Facebook page.