Melissa perched on the edge of her chair, with a cup of hot coffee in her hands. She grabbed her phone and started to eagerly browse her adoption agency’s website, something that she did every morning before work.
As she did, Melissa began to feel defeated. Looking at all the smiling faces of other couples waiting to adopt, she wondered to herself, “How will we stand out from the other couples? What would make a birth mother pick us to be the parents of her child? How can we compete with so many couples who are more attractive, more educated, or wealthier?”
Does this scenario sound familiar? Many hopeful adoptive parents can relate to the fear that a birth mother won’t pick them. Struggling with jealousy and frustration during the adoption wait is normal.
In this article, I hope to clarify the open adoption process and provide you with some bottom line facts about being picked by a birth mother.
Why Them and Not Us?
In today’s adoptions, birth mothers select adoptive families for all sorts of reasons. Lifetime has seen families chosen because they looked familiar, kind, or fun. Birth mothers have chosen their baby’s family based on their pets, where they live, or their hobbies. We’ve even worked with birth mothers who felt a connection to an adoptive couple based on their favorite candy! As you can see, there isn’t a predictable reason why a birth mother might like one family over another.
The reality is that a birth mother can only choose ONE adoptive family for her baby. As she comes to realize that there are so many wonderful people who would make amazing parents for her child, it makes her decision an even more difficult one.
How Long Will It Take?
The adoption journey is unique; if it were easy to adopt more people would pursue it. It’s difficult to predict precisely how long your adoption wait will be. At Lifetime, adoption depends on the birth mother’s choice.
So, it’s crucial to follow your adoption professional’s advice on optimizing your exposure to women thinking about adoption. Also, it’s important to set your adoption preferences for a child as open as you are comfortable. Each time you’re presented to another birth mother means another opportunity to be picked.
The truth is that there are reasons why some hopeful adoptive families wait longer than others. Some couples may have procrastinated with their home study paperwork or with their adoption profile. Or, they may even have declined an adoption opportunity that was presented to them and was within their preferences. However, the reality is that it’s just a matter of time for couples who have been ready and been proactive from the start!
Each adoption journey is unique, but it can be hard not to compare your journey to others. Whether you’re searching on your own or with the help of a professional, hopefully the experience shared in this article will help you get through the difficult or frustrating days.
If you’re searching for encouragement and inspiration, make sure to check out Lifetime’s articles about how to handle the adoption wait!
Editor’s Note: This article was originally published on December 6, 2018, and has since been updated.
As Vice President of Lifetime Adoption, Heather Featherston holds an MBA and is passionate about working with those facing adoption, pregnancy, and parenting issues. Heather has conducted training for birth parent advocates, spoken to professional groups, and has appeared on television and radio to discuss the multiple aspects of adoption. She has provided one-on-one support to women and hopeful adoptive parents working through adoption decisions.
Since 2002, she has been helping pregnant women and others in crisis to learn more about adoption. Heather also trains and speaks nationwide to pregnancy clinics to effectively meet the needs of women who want to explore adoption for their child. Today, she continues to address the concerns women have about adoption and supports the needs of women who choose adoption for their child.
As a published author of the book Called to Adoption, Featherston loves to see God’s hand at work every day as she helps children and families come together through adoption.