HOW TO CHOOSE AN ADOPTIVE FAMILY FOR YOUR BABY
1. Decide what kind of adoption you want: open, semi-open, or closed.
It’s important that you and any adoptive family you choose to agree on the amount of contact you have after placement.
You build a relationship with the adoptive family. You exchange personal and contact information, and have ongoing direct communication with each other. You will always be honored as the child’s birth parent504 because that’s who you are. Research shows that open adoption benefits everyone involved, especially the adopted child.
You can still receive photos and updates on your child, but all communication will go through the adoption agency and your personal information remains private.
Closed adoption: There is little to no contact between you and the adoptive family, and no personal information is exchanged. No communication happens after the baby has been placed with the adoptive parents.
2. Make a list of what’s important to you, including your values and what you wish for your child’s future.
Most women choose adoption because they do not feel they can meet their baby’s needs and provide the type of life their child deserves. It’s important to envision what that life looks like so that you can choose a family that will be able to fulfill your vision. Here are a few questions to consider asking yourself:
Are you open to an LGBT couple or single mom?
Is your child being raised to follow a specific religion important?
Do you want someone that lives close to you?
What hobbies or interests appeal to you?
Do you want a family where both parents work, or one stays home?
Would you prefer first-time parents or a family with other children?
Are you open to transracial adoption?
3. Communicate your preferences with your adoption professional.
She will be able to provide profile books of approved adoptive families that meet your wishes or that sound like would be a good fit. If you are not currently working with an adoption professional, this would be a good time to find one. Working with an agency offers additional support – like counseling and financial assistance – to help you through the process.
4. Review adoptive family profile books and choose your favorites.
Profile books primarily photo books with information about the prospective adoptive parents. You’ll learn about their family, their pets, where they are, what they do for work and fun, and more. If your partner is involved in making the adoption plan as well, he should also review the book. Many expectant parents have their family or close friends take a look as well.
One family may stand out to you, or there may be several that interest you. You can choose to move on to the next step with more than one family. If you don’t feel like any of the families are right, let your adoption professional know. She may have other families at the agency to show you. Many adoption agencies are happy to go outside of their own clients to find the right family for you as well.
Many adoption agencies have ONLINE PROFILES OF WAITING FAMILIES as well. These profiles sometimes offer just a glimpse into the lives of waiting families, but they can also help you learn what types of families an agency works with.
5. Connect with the family or families that you are interested in.
The first contact is usually a phone call, but can also be a Skype call, Zoom meeting, or in-person meeting. Preparing a list of questions beforehand can make it easier. And if you are nervous, just remember that the prospective adoptive parents are too!
Some questions to help get the conversation started to include:
Are you close with your families?
What is your neighborhood like?
Are you religious? How do you see religion being part of your child’s life?
Why do you want to be parents?
What does open adoption mean to you? What do you expect that to look like?
Do you know anyone who has adopted or is an adoptee?
6. Make your decision and become officially matched.
You and the prospective adoptive family will both provide feedback to your adoption professional. If you have both decided that you want to move forward, you will become officially matched. Keep in mind that, even if you are matched with a family, you are still only making an adoption plan. You are not committed to placing your baby for adoption, and you still have not made a final decision. You have the right to change your mind about the adoption, or about the adoptive family, at any time.