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Saturday, January 14, 2012

Ask April Column #2

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Dear April,

I am an adoptive hopeful. My husband and I are hoping that a birth mother will choose us for a home to their baby. As a birth mother what kind of things are you looking for when you choose a family?? I can't imagine how hard that decision must be....but what do YOU want to see from an adoptive family when you are looking over a profile, etc? We want to give as much information as you would want to know. Can you help us?

Melissa P. Texas

Dear Melissa,
Every birth mother has characteristics that they look for in an adoptive couple. Most look for couples that have similar beliefs, similar interests, financial stability, and agreement on the level of openness. I was a little different though. I was not interested in placing my baby when I agreed to go look through a few profiles. I went so everyone would leave me alone about it. I was given several couples to look through to start out with. I didn’t have any interest/feeling about any of them until I got to the end of the first stack. I was crying almost immediately. I knew they were the couple I wanted to adopt my baby. Amazing how things can change!

I asked a few birth mothers to share personal experiences and thoughts based on adoptive hopefuls…

Danyel: When I was 16 and considering families for my son, I was interested in what each family valued and how that matched the dreams I had for my little boy’s life. The specific desires will vary from one birth parent to the next so just do your best to share your own personalities and the things that are important to you both. Some items of interest may include family traditions, personal dreams for your family, and any children you are able to adopt. Do you like movies? Camping? Big family get-togethers? Dream of lots of children or will be grateful to receive one? What are your personal interests or hobbies? What do you hope your life will look like after adoption (stay at home, work from home, dad will stay at home, have a great care provider chosen, work once children are in school, etc.). I realize it’s a rather personal question, but I did want to know why each couple was interested in adopting as the reasons varied. It was also nice when couples included information about their extended families. These days I imagine you’d include your thoughts on the type of adoption you are open to (open, confidential, closed, etc.). Don’t be afraid to share details you are comfortable with, and hold back on the ones you aren’t. Your response is a reflection on your value of privacy and intimacy, and helps establish the boundaries for your future relationship, so be yourself! As an FYI, I’ve known adoptive couples in my adulthood that are certain their low income puts them on the bottom of the list which is simply not true. While I did look for socioeconomic indicators that fit my value system, my personal preference was not to have Donald Trump (or the like) raise my son. Desires and even awareness related to affluence will vary just as much as any other detail a birthparent will be looking at. Above all, each birthparent I’ve known, “just knew” when they found the family for their precious baby. Sharing yourselves just makes you easier to spot!

Kim: I wanted a family that shared the same religious beliefs that I did. In this case it was Christian. I wanted a family that didn't or couldn't have their own children. I know people can love other children as much as their own, but it was a fear of mine that she wouldn't be as loved as I felt she deserved to be. I wanted a couple that was a little bit older and married for at least 5 years. I was only 17 so in my mind the longer the couple had been married the more likely they were to stay married. I wanted a couple that was secure financially so she would have things that I couldn't give her. Last but not least, I wanted a family that was ok with an open adoption. The thought of having her and not seeing her again for 18 years was too unbearable for me. Those were the 5 top things I was looking for.

Other little things that helped me choose my family were:

1. That they loved dogs

2. Had pictures of their wedding

3. Had a large family

4. They cared about their health

5. They were concerned for me and for what I was going through

Ashley {founder BIB}: My final decision came down to two things. 1. They had already adopted one child, I felt like Derek would have a sibling that was the "same" as him, maybe he wouldn't feel as different because his sister was adopted also! 2. The father had a wife and two girls, bottom line....he needed a son and I could give that to him. I spent my life watching in envy of my brothers and dad doing many incredible things together. I knew that my son HAD to have that, and now he does. I think as a birth mom we want to see current things going on in the adoptive families lives. Technology has helped so much, families can post blogs, have facebook pages and more. It is easier for them to reach out to possible birth parents. Be open and honest with us...we need to be able to make an informed decision.

April Morgan McCoy

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