Drawing from over three decades of experience connecting birth parents with adoptive families, I’d like to share my top tip for success in adoption. From your first impression to the finalization of your adoption, a little sweetness goes a long way with your adoption professional AND with birth mothers.
Of course, we should be sweet, nice, patient, and understanding in our daily interactions. And we all are, right? Okay, maybe not so much. We all surely have our moments! But, especially in adoption, sometimes we’re so stressed, overwhelmed, or just plain eager to adopt that we might forget to extend kindness to the adoption professional.
Your Adoption Professional
Adoption professionals are always evaluating whether or not to accept a family as a client. They are observing how this potential client will behave with their birth mothers. A little patience, understanding, and just plain niceness can indicate whether a birth mother’s interaction with you will be positive or negative.
On the flip side, this is something that you should also be looking for when searching for an adoption professional. Do they seem kind, patient, and understanding? Is this the type of person who will engage with birth mothers positively and warmly? Would you want your child’s birth mother treated the way the professional is treating you?
How You Interact With Birth Mothers
Here’s why being positive and welcoming is so important: It can be very upsetting and downright scary for a birth mother to finally speak with a family, after going gaga over their profile, only to find that in person, the family turns out to be rude, judgmental, abrasive, impatient and terribly offensive.
She starts to wonder how this family will treat her child! She starts to question this family’s commitment to keeping in touch with her after the adoption! She may decide to call the whole thing off and parent the child herself.
Birth mothers need to know how much you care about them and about adopting and their child. The prettiest profile will help, but if the contents and your heart are not shared, a birth mother may see you as not very excited about adopting and becoming a parent. So be sure to communicate through your heartfelt desire to adopt and how much you will love her baby and honor her.
Your kindness, patience, and positive attitude trickle all the way down to whether or not a birth mother will select you. Many professionals who have a heart for birth mothers, such as Lifetime, will not be willing to jeopardize an adoption by taking a chance with an adoptive family who just isn’t nice.
When a birth mother trusts me to find loving adoptive parents, I don’t want to recommend a grumpy couple who are upset and ungrateful when things don’t go their way. Get started with a thankful attitude, gratitude for what you have, and hope for the future you have before you. People want to help a grateful person, but a critical one may be repelling the people trying to help them achieve their dreams. Pray about this feeling; make the good bigger than the bad in your adoption.
What would it take to learn to be more positive and content in where you are right now? It could be that this is what is holding you up in your success.
Attitude is Everything in Adoption
Attitude is something that holds back many adoptive parents. Adoption is a process, a process that adoptive parents are a partner in and one that is greatly affected by our attitude.
Adoption isn’t easy. Families can be stretched to their limits financially and emotionally – and this is stressful! It’s wise to have self-awareness and know when you need to get out and blow off some steam. Then, take a deep breath and summon all of the sweetness within yourself before speaking with your adoption professional and certainly a birth mother.
Do you surround yourself with positive people or those that try to tear down the plans you are making? Do you have supportive people in your life who understand adoption or people who are casting stones? Limit the time or contact with negative people. It is vital to your success, and you need to keep this in mind.
Likewise, avoid grumbling and complaining about what you don’t have. Look instead at what you do have and work toward the goal of parenting. Leave the negative attitude out back, and don’t dare bring it into your adoption journey. It is extra baggage you do not need.
It’s the Little Things That Count
Whoever said, “It’s the little things that count,” hit the nail on the head. When an adoption doesn’t work out for you, be nice nonetheless. You never know – the sweetest birth mother may be just around the corner. Or, that initial birth mother might reconsider her adoption plans after all. She will surely request you as her child’s adoptive parents if you’ve been gracious and charitable in your interactions with her.
When you don’t really understand why your adoption professional is doing something a certain way or asking YOU to do something a certain way – just ask and listen. Remember, a quality adoption professional has your best interests at heart and is trying to get you the result you are looking for, your baby in your arms.
Remember, There is a Baby for You!
Editor’s Note: This article was originally published on March 27, 2017, and has since been updated.
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.”