As you begin your adoption journey, there are many exciting new experiences to look forward to, but some new experiences can be challenging to navigate on your own.
Connections between birth parents and adoptive parents can play a large part in your important adoption decision and can be the start of a beautiful relationship, but communication is one of the parts that prospective birth mothers and adoptive families often need expert help with.
Step 1: Getting in Touch
Before you can begin the exciting journey of getting to know your child’s parents, you will need to get connected with the best adoption opportunity. The process looks slightly different for potential adoptive parents and prospective birth parents.
As a Prospective Birth Mother
If you are a new or expectant mother considering adoption, your first step in getting in touch with a potential adoptive family will likely be communicating with an adoption agency. With American Adoptions, you can view videos and written profiles of adoptive families to help you choose the perfect adoptive family.
Once you have found the perfect family, your adoption professional will help you set up communication based on your preferences, which can be the start of a beautiful relationship.
- If you choose an open adoption, you will be able to speak freely with the adoptive family and get to know each other as extensively as you prefer before your child’s birth.
- If you choose a semi-open adoption, some details may be kept private, and your adoption professionals can mediate contact.
- In a closed adoption, you may place your baby anonymously or with little contact with the adoptive family.
Most prospective birth mothers want an open or semi-open adoption, where there is some contact with the adoptive family, and the adoptive family knows at least some basic information about you. Our adoption professionals at American Adoptions are happy to help you complete your adoption in the way that makes you feel most comfortable.
As an Adoptive Family
If you are a hopeful adoptive family, you will complete the home study process and make an adoptive family profile that is shown to prospective birth mothers.
As you make your adoptive family profile, you can share your contact preferences with your adoption professional, who can then show your profile to potential birth parents whose preferences match your own. Birth mothers have the final choice of family and the type of contact they prefer. Being as open as possible can help you find a great adoption match faster.
When a birth mother chooses you as a potential adoptive family, your adoption professional will contact you and help you set up contact with the birth mother according to her preferences.
Step 2: The First Meeting
For both potential birth parents and potential adoptive parents, having great adoption professionals at this beginning stage is crucial because we can help you find an adoption match that is compatible and has a high chance of success. Our agency will give you the most possible matches because of our national scope and effective advertising, which can increase the likelihood of finding a successful match in the best time frame possible.
Once an adoption match is made, communication gets easier in some ways because you will know that you share the same goals and hopes for communication, but if you have an open or semi-open adoption, the first time you exchange communication can be nerve-wracking.
Our adoption support professionals can support you through these communications, help you get the conversation rolling, and guide you through any difficulties in communication. Many first conversations happen over a video conference call with an adoption professional on the line.
But your first communication might come in various ways based on the birth mother’s preferences.
This could include:
- A phone call or video call
- An in-person meeting
- Email communication
- Mediated contact through an adoption professional
If you are feeling nervous about this first conversation, it may be helpful to talk to your partner, a friend, or a family member or write down a list of any topics you would like to discuss or questions you would like to ask. Our adoption professionals can also help you determine how to approach any topics you are unsure of.
Step 3: Keeping in Touch Before Placement
After the first meeting, often many anxieties are soothed, but there will still be steps you will need to navigate.
As a prospective birth mother, you can decide how you would like to include your chosen prospective adoptive family in the pregnancy. Some mothers are comfortable with or excited to have the potential adoptive family in the room for support and share experiences like ultrasounds or check-ups.
Other prospective birth mothers may feel more sensitive or have feelings of grief and feel more comfortable doing those things alone. In some cases, you may also want to maintain privacy.
Pregnancy can be a difficult and busy time for prospective birth mothers, so your contact preferences might vary as your pregnancy continues. This can be when prospective adoptive parents and birth parents bond and get to know each other, building a foundation of trust and connection that carry into your child’s adoption.
You may feel like hearing support and excitement from potential adoptive parents is a positive, or you may feel overwhelmed, busy, or like space is the best thing you can get as you work through the difficult emotions of adoption.
Regardless of your communication preferences, your adoption professional can help you communicate your needs with the prospective adoptive family and help everyone prepare for the hospital stay.
Step 4: Communication During the Hospital Stay
Creating shared memories during the hospital stay can be a beautiful way to connect, and you can share these memories with your child.
Before your adoption match is made, our professionals help birth mothers make an adoption plan that outlines her adoption preferences throughout the process. Part of this plan includes the hospital plan.
As a birth mother, your hospital plan can help you outline how you would like the adoptive family to be involved during the birth and set aside any time and space you may want with your child and support team.
You will be able to choose:
- Who is in the room with you during your hospital stay.
- If adoptive parents are present during labor and birth, and for what portions.
- If you would like the adoptive parents to be a part of cord cutting or delivery.
- Who holds the baby first, and for how long.
- Whether you would like the adoptive family to be at the hospital with you.
- How long you spend with your new baby.
Generally, an adoption professional is also present during the hospital stay to support you and the adoptive family.
If you are an adoptive family, the hospital stay can be an exciting time, but it can also come with anxieties and heightened sensitivity to the birth mother’s feelings of grief. Positive communication and relationship building before and during the hospital stay can make the hospital stay and transitional period easier for everyone.
Step 5: Post-Placement Contact
Once the child is placed with the adoptive family, communication will vary depending on the type of adoption.
In closed adoptions, it is understood that the adoptive family will have little or no contact with the birth parents after placement. This can mean that the name and personal details of the birth mother are not shared with the adoptive family and child.
If any questions or concerns come about from either birth parents or adoptive parents in a closed adoption, their questions would be directed to the adoption agency, who may or may not be able to relay information from the other party.
This can limit information like birth family medical history, updates on the child’s health and may leave questions unanswered for adoptive children. Some people who are placed in a closed adoption may seek out their birth parents even if the adoption is closed.