Choosing A Family

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Who will love my baby as much as I do? Not an uncommon question for birth parents, and a good one. Finding an adoptive family can be an empowering and life changing experience. It can also bring doubts and insecurities to the surface, even if you are sure that adoption is the best choice for you.

In an open adoption you can create the adoption that you envision: from meeting and choosing the adoptive family, to the level of future contact with the adoptive family. Remember, you have many options available to you and there are many happy and loving families ready and waiting to become parents.

Finding the Right Family

At first you may not be able to envision the “perfect” adoptive family. Taking some time to think about what characteristics are most important to you will help you know when you have spotted the right adoptive family.

Below are some common questions to consider. You may find that some questions are very important, while for others you may have no preference at all:

  1. Are there any hobbies, parenting styles, or religious traditions I want to pass on to my child?
  2. Do I want the adoptive family to live close to me or farther away?
  3. Would I prefer the adoptive family to already have a child or would I prefer my child be the first?
  4. Has the adoptive family gotten ready to adopt by completing all the legal requirements necessary, and have they been approved to adopt by a licensed agency?
  5. How much contact do I envision with the family before the birth and after the baby is placed for adoption?

Contact Before and After Placement

During this time you will also be thinking about what type of contact you envision in the future, after the baby is with the adoptive family. Some birth families choose to have very little contact, while others write letters, exchange pictures and even visit each other.

Although it may bring up strong emotions, it is important to be considering your choices for future contact before the baby is born, so that you find an adoptive family with the same expectations about staying in touch.

Take Your Time

Birth parents find the right adoptive family in many different ways. They may often connect through the help of an adoption professional like a licensed agency or attorney, or through their own search online. First contact may be a phone call, an email or text, or an in-person meeting arranged by an adoption counselor.

Whichever way you find each other, remember that the adoptive family should always treat you like an equal, and as someone with your own concerns, life circumstances and desires. Adoptive parents should be just as open and honest with you about their background, dreams for the future and plans for parenting as they want you to be when asking you about your pregnancy, prenatal care and wishes about future contact.

Choosing a few different families is always a good idea when beginning your search, so that you can get some perspective on personality and parenting style.

It is not unusual for a birth family to communicate with more than one adoptive family at the beginning of their journey. Before you meet a prospective adoptive family, think about what questions you would like to ask them and the answers that are important for you to know.

Some common questions for an adoptive family are:

  1. How did you decide on adoption as a way to grow your family?
  2. How long have you been together, and when did you know you wanted to be parents?
  3. If you are already parenting, what is your favorite part and what are the challenges?
  4. How do you resolve conflicts when you disagree?
  5. What are your dreams for your child?
  6. How does your family feel about your plans to adopt?
  7. Can you tell me about your community and your home?
  8. What are your hobbies and interests?

As correspondence continues you will want to make a choice, so that you and the adoptive family can begin planning for the birth of your baby. You will be deciding on what you would like to happen in the hospital during and after the birth, while the adoptive family will be arranging their lives to welcome a new baby into their family.

Seek Advice from a Professional

Having a professional can be a great help during the process of finding the right adoptive family. It is normal for you and the adoptive family to feel nervous when you first connect. Each will be excited and curious to learn about each other, and forming such a special relationship can also bring anxiety and insecurities to the surface. Having an adoption professional available to soothe nerves and give advice can make all the difference in achieving a smooth adoption.

Go with your Gut

Even after all the questioning, soul searching and discussions, many birth mothers know they have found the right adoptive family when “it just feels right.” They somehow know that their adoptive family was meant to raise their baby.

You may not know for sure exactly what you are looking for before you find the family that just “clicks,” but it will happen!

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