People considering adoption, often wonder if they will be chosen by an expectant mom considering adoption. They worry that there is something fundamentally wrong with them that will make it less likely that they will be chosen or increase their wait. They crave knowing what prospective birth mothers want to see if they fit that package.
I get it. Really I do.
Fortunately (or unfortunately for those looking for easy answers) we humans are a unique bunch and resist generalizations, especially about something as important as picking adoptive parents for your child. On the Creating a Family show we picked the brains of two adoption social workers who interact with expectant women every day and found some common themes. We talked about all the main issues of concern for adoptive parents, including age, marital status, sexual orientation, health, cancer, anti-depressant use, religion, and children already in the home.
What do Women Want?
While men often ask this question in general, pre-adoptive parents ask it specifically in reference to prospective birth mothers. What are they looking for? And more important, will it be me?
Each woman considering placing her child is looking for something different. Mostly she is looking for a stable family who will love and raise her child and treat her with respect. Stability and love can be found in many different adoptive families, regardless of their age, whether they are married or already parents, or are Catholic, Methodist, or agnostic. But realistically some adoptive parent profiles are more “attractive” than others.
Listen to the show to get the run down on what the adoption social workers see when talking with expectant women, but the two worries I hear most often from pre-adoptive parents is whether their age or single status will make them less likely to be matched with a birthmother.
How Important is the Adoptive Parent’s Age
The adoption social workers on yesterday’s Creating a Family show did not think age was a big factor when birth mothers were choosing adoptive families. From my discussions with birth mothers after placement and with adoptive families who are waiting, I would agree up to about age 45. After age 45, especially if the mother is over 45, I see it taking longer for these families to be matched.
How Important is Marital Status
As a general rule, it takes single women longer to get placed, although the social workers on yesterday’s show said it was hard to predict. Most often it takes single men the longest to be matched perhaps because of our societal stereotypes that women are more nurturing.
What factors influenced how long you waited for an adoption match?
Image Credit: Bête à Bon-Dieu
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One thing we struggled with a bit was something I’ll loosely call trying too hard. It’s easy to feel like you’re trying to engage in some sort of salesmanship when you’re putting those books together. Really, of course, you’re trying to fairly and honestly represent your life and your family so that if someone thinks you might be a good match, there’s a good chance that you are. Especially if you are able to maintain an open relationship, this is the beginning of a lifetime of contact and communication, and having an open and truthful start is an important part of that. It’s hard to keep that perspective sometimes because of the “what if” factors (what if it’s not shiny enough? what if they want someone crafty? what if they like pictures of kids in a park? We HAVE to find kids in a park we can take pictures with! etc.). And, of course, there are people who pay for professional designers to put together their profiles, which makes it easy to feel behind the curve.
It’s a relationship fraught with potholes at the beginning since both sides feel judged. Trying to show the real you is absolutely the best approach. OK, maybe the best side of the real you, but still some facsimile of the real you.
DS’s birthmom chose us because of 3 pictures in our profile: We had the nursery set up and she liked the toys we had. We had a Betta fish, so did she. (And people thought I was nuts, spending half an hour to get a picture of a fish!) We had a neighborhood where kids played outside together. (I included a picture of kids playing basketball in the street, totally on a whim.)
DD’s birthmom chose us because she liked DS.
I think what influenced how long we waited the second time was that we were specifying sex and we had a smaller budget than most situations we were seeing. We also wouldn’t use agencies that discriminated on the basis of religion or sexual orientation, or that charged race-based fees, so that knocked a lot of the national ones out for us.
You should change the title of this post before your hit with a massive assault from parent’s who’ve lost kids to adoption. What do expectant women want? You mean what do expectant parents want right? That’s what they are is expectant parents because when their children are born they become parents of their own kids for all eternity – adoption does not change that they are parents. Their kids if adopted will become the adopted kids of adoptive parents. Wow. Expectant women just erases their parenthood completely. Forget about the expectant father totally.
They are not expectant women. They are already women as their condition indicates since they got pregnant. They are expecting their very own baby they are expectant mothers.
Marilyn, fair enough–they are expectant mothers.