After you browse adoptive family profiles and select your favorite family, it can be hard to know for sure if they will be the right parents for your child. Speaking with and meeting adoptive parents can help you decide.
Think about the values you want your child to learn and what type of parents you desire for your child, and know that you don’t have to make compromises. After all, you’ve probably spent countless hours imagining what type of life your child could have. Meeting adoptive parents and speaking with them allows you to make that life a reality.
Benefits of Talking With the Adoptive Family
An adoptive family’s profile can only tell you so much about them. What you can’t get from a profile is the feeling behind what they’ve written. By asking them questions directly, you’re able to get the complete picture of the adoptive couple as potential parents to your baby.
Hearing the adoptive couple’s voices, their emotions, and how they interact with each other can give you a better idea of who they are. It’ll also give you a better idea of what kind of open adoption relationship you want to have before and after the placement.
We realize that speaking to and meeting adoptive parents for the first time can be nerve-wracking. You want to make a good impression and not say the wrong thing. Don’t worry: they’re nervous too. Like you, the adoptive couple intends to connect and worries that you won’t like them.
Typically, the first conversation with the adoptive parents will be over the phone. However, if you’d like to meet up with them in person, let your Adoption Coordinator know. The hopeful adoptive parents will be happy to travel to you for this meeting.
If you’re nervous about your upcoming call with adoptive parents, tell your Adoption Coordinator. She can provide support and even join in on the call to help move the conversation along. In addition, here are a few topics you might talk about:
- Get to know them by asking how they met, about their relationship, and what they love about each other. Ask how they decided they wanted to become parents and what made them choose adoption. Their answers will give you a sense of what they would be like as parents, as well as get an idea of what their relationship is like.
- Learn about their values and how they plan to parent. Don’t shy away from asking questions about what’s important to you, such as their educational values or religious beliefs. Learn what a usual day is like in their home, what their community is like, and about their extended family. Learning this information can help you see the life they would provide to your child.
- Talk about future contact. Thinking ahead to life after placement, ask them what they plan to tell your child about their adoption story and about you. Ask about the level of contact and kind of relationship they would like to have with you after the adoption.
- Share about yourself because the adoptive parents are excited to get to know you, too! You can tell them as much of your story as you’re comfortable with. You might talk about your hobbies and interests, your family, how your pregnancy is going, and anything else you want them to know.
You are in the driver’s seat during the first meeting with the adoptive parents. Since you know what you want for your baby, it’s absolutely okay to take your time with every decision you make. Finding the right adoptive parents is the best way to make sure that your child gets everything you wish for them, so don’t hesitate to go after what you want and need in parents for your child.
Questions to Ask When Meeting Adoptive Parents
Once you’ve decided on meeting adoptive parents by speaking to them on the phone, it’s helpful to have a list of questions with you. Here are some questions to help you make the most of your first conversation while at the same time building a relationship:
- What kind of relationship would you like to have after the baby is born?
- Does your extended family support the fact that you’re adopting?
- How and when will you tell my child they were adopted?
- When did you decide you wanted to start a family?
- Why did you choose to start your family through adoption?
- How long will you stay at home with my baby?
- Once you go back to work, what are your childcare plans?
- What will you call me, the birth mother, when you talk to him/her?
Assess How it Went
After you hang up the phone from meeting potential adoptive parents, take a minute or two to think about your convo. Do you feel like it went well? What’s your first impression of the couple? What’s your gut feeling about them? Then, let your Adoption Coordinator know if you’d like to take the next step and match with the adoptive couple.
But what if the call didn’t go so well? If you feel like the adoptive couple is asking too many uncomfortable questions (or if you feel disrespected), let them know. Or, you can always tell your Adoption Coordinator after the call if you get nervous about confrontations. There’s no requirement that you have to match with them or talk to them again if you don’t want to!
Some birth mothers find that it takes awhile until they find the perfect family for their child. So be prepared and be ready to adjust to change when it happens. If you don’t hit it off with the first adoptive family you meet, your Adoption Coordinator can arrange a meeting with another of your choosing.
Editor’s Note: This article was originally published on December 26, 2017, 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.