After deciding that they’d like to expand their family through adoption, most hopeful adoptive parents start prioritizing financial planning, researching adoption agencies, and reading up on open adoption. And when it comes time to create their adoption profile, many hopeful adoptive parents have one question top-of-mind: What are birth mothers looking for in adoptive parents?
You may wonder what qualities they look for in parents or how you can help a birth mother feel a connection to you through your profile. This is a common question we hear among the waiting families at Lifetime. Usually, the question, “What are birth mothers looking for in adoptive parents,” is then followed up with, “how can we make our profile stand out from everyone else’s?”
Honesty, a genuine connection, and a secure feeling that she is placing her child in a loving home are pretty universal wishes among expectant parents. But, other than those requirements, each birth mother has her own specific wants.
A birth mother may want a family that lives in the same state or a different state altogether. She may wish to place with a couple with other children, so her child has siblings. Or, she might seek a couple who don’t have any children yet, so her child will have all of their attention. She may want her baby raised in a home with a stay-at-home mom or a working mom.
Since there is no specific formula for what birth mothers are seeking, it’s best to focus on honestly presenting yourself and your values and trust that this will lead to a perfect match. Here are some suggestions:
1. Adoption Preferences
When specifying your preferences, take the time to really think about how you see your family growing. While being open to more situations can mean you are chosen by a birth mother sooner, a birth mother will sense if you are not genuinely excited about adopting a four-year-old, for instance. Honesty is essential here. Be honest with yourself, your spouse, and your Adoption Coordinator.
2. Positive Outlook
Having a positive outlook about the adoption process is extremely important. Using positive language when speaking with a birth mother can make all the difference.
Placing your child for adoption is difficult. So, letting her know that you understand that and admire her for loving her child enough to place her for adoption is essential.
It is also important to let friends and family know how excited you are to be on your adoption journey. You never know when a friend of a friend might know somebody who is dealing with an unexpected pregnancy and considering adoption.
3. Your Adoption Profile
When creating your adoption profile, make sure you feel it truly represents who you are. Let your personality and values shine through. You want the birth mother to be able to envision her child growing up in your home. Don’t try to be something you are not. You never know what might help a birth mother feel a connection to you after seeing your profile, and you want that connection to be genuine.
One of our birth mothers, Alisa* chose a couple because the adoptive father liked the same candy bar as her. They even lived in a different state than she was interested in, but that candy bar piqued her interest, and she made a connection with them!
Your adoption professional will give you tips on creating your profile and may ask for changes or updates from time to time. Never take this as criticism. Our Adoption Coordinators have lots of experience and know birth mothers.
Let your normal, everyday life speak for itself. If you like making popcorn and watching a movie on a rainy Saturday afternoon, share that. Maybe you love long bike rides after church on Sunday. Share that as well. The smallest thing can create that special connection a birth mother is looking for.
* Name has been changed for privacy.
4. Connecting with a Birth Mother
Once a birth mother has chosen you, it is important to make a connection with her that she is comfortable with. If you are matched while she is pregnant, ask what her preferences for contact are. For example, would she like you to go to her doctor appointments with her if possible, or would she prefer limited contact at this time? Talk about what future contact will look like and make sure you are on the same page. She is entrusting her child with you and deserves to feel valued and respected.
It will also be important to be flexible. You may find a birth mother’s choices and feelings change over time. Be supportive, and while you want to maintain boundaries, you may find that she will wish to get only limited updates at times, and at other times she may want more.
5. Believe in Yourselves
Share who you are with confidence in your profile and when you talk with a birth mother. When you share your feelings on parenting, faith, marriage, and other aspects of your lives, it is very personal and can be difficult to wait to be chosen.
Remember, you are not just looking for a match. You are looking for the right match. Birth mothers are as unique as you are, and when the birth mother chooses you, you want it to be because who you really are has drawn you to her.
So, to answer the question, “What are birth mothers looking for in adoptive parents?” know that one of them is looking for you. You will have the personality, values, and lifestyle that one special birth mother is hoping to find to raise her child.
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.”