Finding a forever family for your baby can seem like an exasperating process. You may have a lot of questions to ask each individual couple such as why they decided to adopt, how they plan to raise your baby, and how involved you can be after the adoption is over. It can be overwhelming trying to figure out which family to select, and daunting to know how they feel about this adoption. Feeling emotions like guilt, shame, and grief are completely normal. That being said, that doesn’t mean that potential adoptive parents will make you feel this way. In fact, most adoptive families are more than willing to take you under their wing and support you through this process. Here are some things that adoptive couples want you to know:
Adoptive Couples Want to Have a Relationship with You
At first, it may seem strange that the people you’re giving your baby to want a relationship with you, but they sincerely want to know the selfless woman that chose them. They don’t just want to get to know you because you’re giving birth to their adoptive child; they want to get to know you so you can remain a part of the family triad (birth family, adoptee, and adoptive family). Typically, the relationship can start immediately after you choose which couple you want as your baby’s forever family. A lot of couples want to not only open up their hearts to you but their homes, as well. They may invite you to family events, birthday parties, dinners, and so much more, to ensure that you feel welcome.
Adoptive Couples Want You to Feel Comfortable
Going hand-in-hand with the relationship they want to have with you, adoptive couples also want to make sure that you feel comfortable with what’s going on in the adoption process. Do you not want to have in-person visitations yet? That’s perfectly fine. Would you rather spend more time with the baby before you terminate your rights? No problem. During labor, do you want the adoptive mother in there with you for support? Absolutely. Even though you’re working together with the adoptive family, you still need to make sure you’re being heard. Speak up if you don’t feel comfortable with the plan. For example, maybe you want less involvement after the child is born. It’s okay to change your mind even when things are already in place. Adoption plans are rarely set in stone.
Adoptive Couples Want You to be Involved
Many adoptive couples are leaning towards open adoption now more than ever. An open adoption is where there is more communication between the family triad, as opposed to a semi-open or closed adoption. So what exactly do all three of these different types of adoptions entail?
Open adoptions mean exactly what the name implies: openness. In an open adoption, you can have a relationship with the adoptive family and the adoptee, based on what you’re comfortable with, even before you give birth. There are so many options for communication nowadays thanks to technology. You can get in touch with the adoptive family and your child via text messaging, phone calls, Skype, social media, and in-person visits. This is becoming more popular as you can be part of the family and be more involved. Not only will your child know their identity, but they’ll have easy access to the birth parent(s) if and when they do want to talk and ask questions about the adoption. Medical records are not sealed, which is great for adoptive parents when taking the baby to doctor visits. Every adoption is unique and special in its own way, and no two family triads are alike. Typically, the openness of the adoption depends on how comfortable the birth family is regarding communication. Some family triads are extremely close while others don’t talk very much. Regardless, the adoptive families always have a spot for the birth family whenever they are ready to communicate. Check out this article to read more about open adoptions.
Semi-open adoptions have minimal communication, usually through an adoption agency or attorney. This is an option for birth families who want to be somewhat involved but at a distance. The adoptive family will send you updates with pictures and may be open to phone calls or visitations. Again, this is based on how comfortable the birth family is with communicating with the other members of the triad.
Closed adoptions typically mean that all records are sealed and there is no communication between the family triad. In cases of abuse or neglect, adoptions are closed for the safety of the child. However, some birth families opt for closed adoption as a way to move forward. When the child turns 18, they can try to get in touch with their birth family, though it is very difficult.
As you can see, every single type of adoption is vastly different. In most cases, the adoptive families want to have a relationship with you and want you to be involved with your child. Even though you terminated your rights legally, this is a great option if you still want to be a part of your child’s life. That’s being said, it’s up to you on how you want to proceed. Just keep in mind that most adoptive parents don’t want to shut you out of their lives.
Adoptive Couples Want to Understand
At this point, you’ve already been taking the necessary steps to get through the adoption journey, but that doesn’t make it any easier. Not only are you going through the motions of pregnancy hormones, but you may also be feeling the emotions that I mentioned at the beginning of the article. It’s possible that you’re feeling alone and that you may not really have a support system. Please know that you have people on your team who are more than willing to walk with you before, during, and after the adoption is over. There are amazing social workers, counselors, and adoptive parents out there. That being said, adoptive parents want to understand what you’re feeling and how to help. They already know that you’re going through a lot and want to make the process as smooth as possible for you. It’s okay to be honest about what’s going on in your mind and to iterate what kind of support you need. Adoptive families may not have all the answers but know that they want to help.
Adoptive Couples will Love Your Child Equally
Some of the adoptive couples you come across might have children of their own already, biologically or adopted. It may seem intimidating that there are already children in the home. Will your child be loved just like the other kids in the house? Absolutely. Biology doesn’t matter. There is this sweet quote about adoption on the internet that says, “I didn’t grow you in my tummy, but you grew in my heart.” I think this is so true for adoptions! Regardless of where the child came from, adoptive couples will love your child just as much as their other children. To put your mind at ease, you should listen to the song “Where You Belong” by Kari Kimmel. The chorus beautifully depicts a relationship between an adoptive family and the adoptee:
“It’s not where you come from
It’s where you belong
Nothing I would trade
I wouldn’t have it any other way
By love and you’re wanted
So never feel alone
You are home with me
Right where you belong”
Adoptive Couples Want You to Feel Loved
This goes along with some of the concepts already discussed. Along with wanting a relationship with you, adoptive couples want you to feel loved. They aren’t just doing this for your baby; they know you’re a person with emotions who needs to be nurtured during this time. Even though they probably haven’t been in your situation, they have tried to put themselves in your shoes. You don’t need someone harping on you about your decisions and making you feel guilty. They want to welcome you with open arms and ease any of the negative feelings you may have for yourself. Even though you’re not the one getting adopted, you can be a part of their family. They want you to feel supported, especially if you don’t have many people in your corner.
Adoptive Couples Want You to Use Positive Language
I want this to be said loud and clear: you did not “give up” your baby or “put your baby up for adoption.” You made an incredibly brave and selfless decision to choose a family to raise your baby. That doesn’t mean you have to move on if you want to be a part of your child’s life. Adoptive couples want you to use positive language for your sake and the adoptee’s sake. Using language like “giving up for adoption” can have a negative impact on the child as they get older, as well as make it more difficult for you to heal. Adoption isn’t something to be considered negative. It’s a wonderful way to connect the family triad together. There’s no point in using language that makes the triad feel dirty. Adoptive couples don’t want their adopted kids to feel like they were “given up,” but instead chosen, wanted, and loved. That’s exactly why you found an adoptive family, too; because you love your child and want what’s best for him or her.
Adoptive Couples Want YOU
You don’t need to feel “less than” because of your choice to find an adoptive family. Adoptive couples want you, just as you are. You’re cooking a little bun in the oven for nine months and then going through with the adoptive process. It doesn’t matter if you were raised in a good home environment or not, whether you have a good support system or not, whether your background is squeaky clean or not, or whether you were raised religious or not. Adoptive couples want you and your imperfections. You don’t need to act like you’re perfect. It’s okay to be real and honest about whatever you’re comfortable sharing. Guess what? The adoptive parents aren’t perfect either, yet they want to love you and your baby. Even though imperfect people can lead messy and chaotic lives, it makes those same people come together in harmony and glory.
Adoptive couples want you to know that you’re not alone. They will have the door open for you whenever you’re ready and comfortable to begin that relationship and cultivate it throughout the years. You may have had some bumps in the road, how people treated you during the adoption process, but you can rest assured that adoptive couples will have your back. Not only will they be there before the birth, but they’ll be there during and after as well. Post-adoption support is so important to a birth family’s healing process. Counseling or therapy are great ways to tread through the waters of grief, but adoptive couples will be there for you, too. Just because you terminated your rights doesn’t mean that the relationship is cut off. In fact, it’s just the opposite! You get to bond with the little human that grew inside of you for nine months and with the family that will take care of said little human. The adoptive families want to make sure that you’re being seen and heard since it feels that sometimes birth mothers get put on the back burner. If you ever feel that you’re not a priority, you need to speak up and let your voice be known. Birth mothers are an intricate part of the family triad and need to be treated as such. You got this. Hang in there.
Emily Perez is a stay-at-home mama to 2 sweet boys and wife to a handsome electrician living the small-town life in Idaho. She has a BS in Elementary Education from Eastern Oregon University and loved teaching 2nd grade. When she was younger, her parents did foster care and adopted 5 kiddos from all walks of life to be her siblings. She hopes to do foster care and adoption in the future. Along with adoption, her other passions include advocating for mental health and special needs. Emily enjoys being with family and friends, snuggling her babies, playing the piano, singing, reading, and writing. Coffee is her go-to drink for fuel and she loves anything chocolate!