One of the great things about adopting a baby through open adoption is that you get to play an active role in building your family.
Unlike other adoption routes where you have limited or no control over the outcome, in open adoption you not only have the ability to find and meet the family you hope to adopt from, but the way you go about doing it can also potentially shorten your wait time.
Finding an open adoption match doesn’t mean taking a number and then waiting in line until your turn to come up. It involves reaching out and connecting directly with the birthmother of your future child.
Which brings us to the question that all adopting parents eventually come to ask themselves (if not others): “What will help me get chosen by a birthmother? Is there anything I can do to speed up the time it takes to find a match? If I haven’t found a match thus far, does that mean that I’ll never find a match?”
Getting picked by a birthmother–or, more accurately, a woman considering adoption for her baby– isn’t an exact science.
There’s nothing that says if you do this or say that, you’ll be successful. Sometimes waiting parents forget that birthmothers are people too. And just like everyone, they have their own set of wants and needs.
1. Be genuine and honest
From your social worker to other adoptive parents, this is probably the No. 1 piece of advice that you’ll hear when it comes to finding an adoption match: Just be yourself.
Really, it’s true! As we mentioned, there’s no formula for getting selected. Every birthmother is different and chooses her baby’s adoptive parents for different reasons.
Knowing that, rather than second guess yourself or try to impress an expectant mother by trying to be something you’re not, figure out what your strengths are. Then let them shine through in everything you do, from creating your profile to meeting and talking with her.
Of course, there’s more to finding a match than just being yourself. But when it comes to making a connection with an expectant mother who’s thinking about adoption for her baby, it’s a very good place to start.
2. Spread the word
Getting the word out that you’re trying to adopt is the key to finding a birthmother match. After all, if an expectant mother with an adoption plan don’t know you exist, how do you expect her to find you?
Because you never know when or how your match will come, it’s important to tell as many people as you can. Not everyone is comfortable doing this, and that’s okay. Just remember that the more proactive you are, the better chance you have of finding the birth family that’s looking for you.
3. Create a strong adoption profile
After word of mouth, your profile is your best tool to get the word out.
When creating your profile, make sure that it provides an honest and accurate portrait of you. Avoid cliches (“her smile lights up a room”) and superlatives (“he’s the nicest guy you’ll ever meet”).
Instead, focus on things that give insights into your personality and the kind of parent you would be. Write about things that expectant parents need to know (e.g. your parenting and baby care plans) rather than than what you want them to know (e.g. the details of your latest vacation or how wonderful your wedding was).
4. Be adaptable
So much of the adoption matching process is out of your reach. Sometimes, when the going gets rough, all you can do is strap yourself up and go along for the ride.
Being adaptable and ready to pivot to new situations will not only make the process less stressful. It could also lead to more opportunities to find a match.
5. Work with experienced professionals
Adopting a baby is a personal decision. But you can’t do it alone. To make it happen, you need a team.
Surrounding yourself with experienced, competent professionals can jump-start your journey and help you avoid unnecessary problems before and after placement.
6. Be easy to talk to
To get chosen, a birthmother needs to relate to you. But eventually she needs to talk to you.
If you’re the type of person who keeps everything bottled inside and isn’t outgoing, you may have a harder time finding a match. That’s why it’s important to keep an open mind and try to be as warm and approachable as possible.
7. Have an optimistic mindset
Everyone knows about the importance of positive thinking. When it comes to adopting a baby, looking on the bright side of life can help you navigate the process and overcome the hurdles along the way.
Your frame of mind may not help you find a match directly. But having a positive attitude and taking things one day at a time can help you bounce back quicker when the going gets tough.
Finding a match is one of the most challenging parts of adopting a baby. However, depending on how proactive you are, your attitude and other factors, you can shorten the time it takes for you to get chosen by an expectant mother.