A spoken or unspoken fear of many prospective adoptive parents is that they are not the type of family that will be chosen by expectant mothers—or that they will have to wait a long time to be chosen. What do expectant moms look for in adoptive parents?
We decided to go to the experts to get an answer to this question. We asked the Adoption Team at Children’s Connection Inc., who works with both expectant moms and adoptive parents, what expectant parents are looking for when choosing a family for their child.
One question that often arises is how expectant parents pick adoptive parents for their baby. There are several factors affecting how expecting moms and dads make this choice. Most often, the expectant mom chooses the adoptive parents but occasionally the expectant father is also involved in this process. Either way, they choose an adoptive family for a variety of reasons.
What Do Expectant Moms Look for in Adoptive Parents?
There are as many reasons as there are moms looking for an adoptive family. Some may pick adoptive parents because of as something as specific as the family’s religion, careers, pictures provided in their photobook/profile, the fact that they do or do not have pets, or even the types of activities the family enjoys. Many times expectant parents are unable to verbalize the reason for choosing a specific family; they just know they were drawn to them.
Sometimes a family reminds the expectant parent(s) of their own family, the type of family they wish they had, or what their plans are once they have placed for adoption (plans to become a nurse or to go to college, for example). Some are looking for families who already have children and they see how they are being raised and want the same experience for their child. Others may prefer a childless couple or individual.
Where the adoptive parents live may also play a role. Expectant parents sometimes choose a family who lives close to where they live so they can see their baby more often, and others wish to choose a family in another state to keep from meeting at unexpected times. Other reasons an expectant parent may choose to match with an adoptive individual or couple are that the adoptive parent is a single parent, the couple has been waiting for an extended amount of time to be matched, the individual or couple is of a specific race, and some want to place with those who are less likely to match with other expectant parents such as same-sex couples. With all of that being said there is a match out there for everyone!
Adoptive Parent Profile or Photobook: What to Include
Since expectant parents generally choose their adoptive family based on information and pictures provided in a photobook (also called a Parent Profile), it seems prudent to provide some feedback on what you should include and even things to exclude from your photobook/profile. Photobooks or adoptive parent profiles play a very important part in the adoption process since they are your introduction to the expectant parents. This is your greatest marketing tool! It’s important that expectant parents see you as a mature, responsible person/couple who will love and provide a stable home for their child while being able to have fun.
The focus of your photo book should be you and your spouse since the expectant parent wants to get to know you to determine if they feel comfortable with you as the parent of their child.
This brings us to another important aspect of your photobook – make sure you refer to the baby as the expectant parent’s baby. The expectant parent very much views this baby as theirs. To refer to the baby as your baby before they have been placed in your home is offensive to many expectant parents.
Adoptive Parent Profile/Photobook: What Not to Do
You want to paint a real picture of yourself, but there are better ways to do this.
- Including silly pictures or ones where you “appear” to be having fun are oftentimes not appealing to expectant parents.
- Some adoptive parents have created themed photo books (i.e. Disney, Star Wars) and generally, expectant parents do not respond well to those.
- If you are already a parent, you will, of course, include information and pictures of your child or children, but don’t overdo it since you don’t want to leave the impression that you will not care for a new child as much as the ones you are already parenting.
- If you are a grandparent, you will include this information but you may not want your grandchild to be the focus on your profile.
It’s best to simply focus on how you will love and provide a good life for the expectant parent’s child.
Although this is not meant to be an all-inclusive description of how to develop your photobook, hopefully, it has given you some tips and ideas for getting started. The thing that is most important to remember is that there are as many reasons why expectant parents choose adoptive parents as there are expectant parents. There is an expectant family out there that will be a perfect match for you!
What to Expect in Your First Phone Call with an Expectant Mom
It’s also important for you to be prepared for your first telephone call with an expectant parent since this sometimes influences their decision to match with you. As we have probably all heard, first impressions are lasting impressions. While it is an important time, it’s also a time you need to be able to relax and be yourself. After all, the expectant parent(s) want to get to know you, and it’s only natural that you ALL will be a bit nervous (okay, really nervous).
Sometimes this first phone visit can be a very emotional time for you and the expectant parent(s). Questions they may ask are why you want to become parents and what kind of life you will provide for the child. They sometimes want to know what kind of family life the child will have with your immediate and extended families. They are often interested in what kind of education you are prepared to provide for the child’s future. Many may even ask about your parenting style and the techniques you use for discipline and may go as far as asking you to describe why you would make a good parent.
You will want to decide the level of openness you are willing to have with the expectant family and be ready for those kinds of questions as well. If you are planning on open adoption often the birth parent will want to know how you will keep in contact with them, schedule visits, and even want to know how open you are to having some of their other family members (like the child’s biological grandparents) being involved in the child’s life.
There are some expectant parents who want to know your religion and the values you plan on passing down to the child. There may even be questions about your career and how much time you spend away from home. Expectant parents want to know how much time you plan on investing in their child’s life. We encourage you to be open, honest, and reassure them to ask questions so they can get to know you!
As you make plans to start this exciting process always keep in mind there is an expectant family that is looking for you to start or add to your family! ~ By Children’s Connection’s Adoption Team[sws_blue_box box_size=”515″]
Other Resources You May Enjoy
- Domestic Adoption: Package for New Beginnings (Course)
- Tips for Navigating Open Adoption With “Unsafe” Birth Family
- Top 10 Tips for Blending Children by Foster Care, Birth And/Or Adoption[/sws_blue_box]
Image credit: Fábio Goveia; Michal Hrabovec; Shawn de Raaf
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