I reached out to a few hundred birth moms recently and asked them this question: “As a birth mom, what are the things you wish all prospective adoptive parents knew?” I received so many answers and was able to compile a top-15 list, which included insight from a variety of birth moms, all with different types of adoptions. Some have just become birth moms, while others have been birth moms for over 20 years. If you’ve done a search for “perspective adoptive parent,” you may be looking for adoptive parents for your child, or you may be a hopeful adoptive parent looking for insight (perspective). Whoever you are, or whatever your role is in adoption, the following points are hugely beneficial to read and soak in.

Birth moms make a tremendous sacrifice for their children, and these are the top 15 things they want prospective adoptive parents to know:

  1. “We are not going to come and steal the baby we put in your arms. If you share your address with us or allow us to visit in your home, we are going to treat that knowledge and that privilege with complete respect. We trusted you with the most important thing we had, and it feels good when that trust is returned. We do our best to rise to the occasion whenever we’re given an opportunity to.”
  2. “Never agree to anything simply to get a baby. Make sure you have thought through the things you’re promising, and never agree to do something you know you won’t follow up on. If there is a single doubt about what you can do, under-promise and then strive to over-deliver. A woman should be able to make a choice of whether or not to place her baby with you based on solid facts. Anything else is immoral.”
  3. “We need to feel important after placement, not just before. When a birth mom places her baby for adoption, she goes home with completely empty arms. We were so important to you before placement, but afterwards we’ve never felt more alone in our lives. Call and check up. Ask how we’re feeling, if we’re eating, how we’re healing. We don’t have family or friends coming over to dote on a new baby, and no one is sending us food. We don’t have cards or gifts of congratulations, and in fact most of our loved ones are keeping their distance because it’s an awkward situation they don’t know how to handle. Be there for us like you were before you took placement of our baby.”
  4. “You will have to answer to your child someday for whatever choices you make, so use that as your compass, and treat us with kindness. If you love your child, love the people who gave him life. We love our children, so we love the people who are able to give him the life we wish we could have.”
  5. “We don’t want to co-parent; we just want to love them! Just because we aren’t legally their mothers anymore doesn’t mean we don’t love them as mothers do.”
  6. “We respect your role as the mother! We chose you to be our child’s mother, after all! We love seeing our babies happy with their families. Pictures with family members loving our babies mean the world to us.”
  7. “No one wants to see your family succeed more than birth parents. We want you to be happy and to enjoy being parents.”
  8. “We want to be acknowledged, even with something as small as a quick text saying ‘hello’ or ‘hope you have a good day,’ just to see how we are. It means so much when they do it on their own.”
  9. “We don’t want you to hide in the shadows just because you think we may not agree with something you do or say. You’re going to do things differently than we would. We’re not the same person, and we understand that! Be yourself. Don’t try to be cookie-cutter. Real issues are healthy, so don’t walk on eggshells around us. We like when you’re real.”
  10. “We love to chat about our kids, but we want to know you and be connected to you as well. We look up to you, and we’d love to talk about life or maybe even hang out without the kids around.”
  11. “We like it when we see our child’s imperfections too. That’s real life, and sometimes kids don’t listen, or they get cranky or throw fits. That’s just real life, and we want to see that stuff too!”
  12. “Every adoption and every birth mom is different. When you hear good or bad generalizations about birth moms, take them into consideration, but don’t automatically assume one way or another about your child’s birth mom or birth moms in general.”
  13. “Go to a birth mom panel; it’s important to know that birth moms are human, and panels will help you understand our pain to some extent. Talk to other adoptive parents who have been through the process—especially ones you admire—and ask how they became as admirable as they are. Read articles, testimonials, and birth mom blogs. Just do all you can to gain perspective and increase your empathy while you wait and after you take placement too.”
  14. “If you share a photo of a cute thing your child did on social media or privately to your friends, send it to us too. No one will appreciate it like we will. Please don’t make us beg for a photo or an update. Don’t ever forget to be appreciative that we chose you to parent our child, and keeping us connected is the best way you can show your gratitude.”
  15. “We are here to back you up. If you ever hear the dreaded ‘You’re not my real mom,’ we’re here, on your side, telling him or her that, yes, you are the mother, and what you say is the law. We aren’t going to be excited when that happens; we’re going to be your reinforcement.”