“I think I’ve just found the perfect family to adopt my baby! My baby’s father likes them, too.”
“My adoption coordinator has given me their phone number and set up a time for me to call them and talk. Do you have any tips on what to say? What should I ask them about?”
It’s common to feel a little nervous about talking with and meeting potential adoptive parents for the first time. If you’re feeling way uncomfortable about this phone call, please feel free to speak up to your coordinator at Lifetime Adoption agency. She can join in on the call in a phone conference and help you out in your convo, so it doesn’t feel awkward. Having her there can help break the ice, and it also makes sure that your questions are answered without putting you on the spot.
The prospective adoptive parent’s profile can tell you lots of things about them, like where they live, what their interests are, what their jobs are, info about their extended family, and much more. But what you can’t get from a profile is the feeling behind what they’ve written. By being able to ask them questions directly, you’re able to get the complete picture of the adoptive couple as a potential family for your baby.
20 Questions to Ask Adoptive Parents
When you talk to an adoptive couple, not many questions are off-limits. You’re putting a lot of trust in them to parent and love your baby unconditionally, after all! So now’s not the time to be shy or to worry about offending anyone.
Here are 20 possible questions you might ask the adoptive parents. If you’re feeling anxious or scared about asking some of these questions, it may be a good idea to practice.
Have a friend or family member act as the adoptive family. This practice can help you feel more comfortable when the time comes to speak with any waiting families, whether it’s in person, online, or over a phone call.
- Why are you adopting?
- What kind of connection do you hope to have with me during the adoption process and after we finalize? Are you open to exchanging letters, photos, or social media and having phone calls, texts, or occasional visits?
- Is your family supportive of you adopting? Are they excited for you?
- How do you plan on talking with my child about his/her adoption?
- What are your parenting beliefs? How will you discipline? (Spankings, time-outs, or reward systems?)
- What religion are you, and how do you practice your faith? Do you attend church regularly?
- How long do you plan to stay at home with my baby before returning to work?
- What kind of childcare plans do you have once you go back to work?
- Do you have any other children? Were they adopted?
- What are your feelings about public school, private school, or home school?
- How will you refer to me, the birth mother, when you talk to my child about me?
- Can you describe your ideal relationship with a birth family?
- What are some activities you look forward to doing with your kids?
- How often do you think you’ll travel as a family?
- Describe your community or town. What kind of people live there?
- Do you have friends living near you? Do they have small children?
- Do you plan to have any more children?
- What do you think your parenting style will be like (if the adoptive couple already has children, “what’s your parenting style like with them?”)
- Do you know anyone who’s currently in an open adoption?
- How will you approach adoption-related issues when they come up? How about with friends, family members, and acquaintances?
If at any time you feel uncomfortable with these interview questions or the conversation itself — or if you feel the adoptive couple isn’t treating you with respect — let them know. If that feels uncomfortable, you can tell your adoption coordinator later, too. You don’t have to speak with them further if you don’t want to.
Goals for Your First Meeting
Your goal in all this is to get to know the family as best as you can. Your adoption coordinator can help guide you in what questions not to ask, too. It’s all part of the adoption journey!
During the interview, it’s normal to feel nervous and a little bit awkward or tense. The adoptive family has also decided to choose adoption and open themselves up to expectant mothers’ questions. They are likely feeling nervous, too.
Meeting in this way is probably new for all of you, and feeling nervous is completely normal. Adoptive families also have to go through a process of their own, including interviews from social workers, a study of their home, and much more.
Keep in mind that this time to meet and talk about important topics is an important part of the adoption process. It can take time to create an adoption plan and find the right match for your baby.
This article was originally published on September 13, 2016, 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.
I love this post but it also makes me sad, regretful, and jealous. I am a product of closed adoption and so my birth mother was not given these tools to work with. She made the adoption plan for my twin sister and me with Catholic Charities and it took five years of searching for her to find out about my background. What a gift open adoption is to birth mothers, adoptees, and adoptive parents. The gift of shared information throughout the adoption experience benefits everyone touched by adoption.
Thank you for sharing about your experience, Julie!