Question: We just scheduled a phone call with a birth mother who’s interested in matching with us. We’re excited, yet a little nervous. How do we handle this first conversation?
Answer: It’s both thrilling and scary to anticipate your first call with a birth mother! We suggest planning ahead and creating a few things about the two of you that you’d like to share with her. See it from her point of view: if you were a pregnant woman creating an adoption plan, what would you want to know about the possible parents of your baby? You might role-play a discussion to get ready for “the call.” Grab some paper to keep by your side during your call, so that you can keep notes. This paper might also list the topics you hope to discuss during your phone call.
Lifetime highly recommends that all hopeful adoptive parents obtain a toll-free phone number to use when a birth mother calls. Having a toll-free number allows birth mothers to avoid feeling embarrassed or uncomfortable when she has to call collect.
When she calls in, make sure to relax and take a deep breath. Share with her that you’re thrilled to talk with her. The odds are that she’s nervous, too, so it’s nice to share your feelings. Telling her you’re nervous about the call will make you more relatable and down-to-earth. It’s crucial to let her know that you’re very excited about becoming parents. Keep your tone positive and cheerful. Everyone in her life may be disappointed in her for getting pregnant, so it’s nice to hear from someone who’s excited about it.
Avoid focusing the conversation on just you and your family. You might ask her how she’s feeling, when her due date is, and so on. To form a connection, you might see if you have a common hobby or interest. Ask her a couple of general questions, then let her provide any details she wants to give. Make an effort to listen.
Don’t ask her nosy questions, such as about her baby’s father, finances, race, drug use, or prenatal care unless she starts talking about these subjects. If you ask her about these topics, you might come off as too picky or prying. The contact at your adoption center will share details about the adoption situation with you.
Ask her if she has any questions for you. Also, see what she’d prefer for the type and amount of contact she’d like after the adoption. What relationship would she like with you and your child in the years to come: social media posts, emails, phone calls, or annual visits?
As your call comes to a close and she hasn’t mentioned that she wants to meet, you might wrap it up on a positive note. Tell her that you enjoyed speaking with her, and hope that you can get to know one another but whatever she decides, you wish her the best. By putting the choice in her hands, you’re empowering her. Also, sharing that you’re ready to move forward can help provide her with reassurance.
You might think of things you wish you’d asked. And, you’ll probably be hopeful for another chance to talk with her. If she doesn’t contact you again, look at this way: you’re now better prepared for the next phone call with a birth mother!
Founder of Lifetime Adoption, adoptive mom, adoption expert, and Certified Open Adoption Practitioner (C.O.A.P).
Since 1986, adoption expert Mardie Caldwell has been dedicated to bringing couples and birth parents together in order to fulfill their dreams.
“Many years ago, I was also searching for a child to adopt. We didn’t know where or how to get started. Through research, determination, and a prayer, our dream of a family became reality. I started with a plan, a notebook, assistance from a caring adoption consultant and a lot of hard work; this was my family I was building. We had a few heartaches along the way, but the pain of not having children was worse!
Within weeks we had three different birth mothers choose us. We were overwhelmed and delighted. Many unsettling events would take place before our adoption would be finalized, many months later. Little did I know that God was training and aligning me for the adoption work I now do today. It is my goal to share with our families the methods and plans which succeed and do not succeed. I believe adoption should be affordable and can be a wonderful “pregnancy” for the adoptive couple.
I have also been on both sides of infertility with the loss of seven pregnancies and then conceiving by new technology, giving birth to a healthy daughter. I have experienced first-hand the emotional pain of infertility and believe my experience allows me to serve your needs better.
It is my hope that for you, the prospective parents, your desire for a child will be fulfilled soon.”