If you are an expectant parent and are considering adoption, you may wonder about the couples who want to adopt. You may have already looked at profiles and realized that couples who want to adopt can come from various backgrounds, have a wide array of political leanings, have different religious beliefs, have varied interests, and personalities. They may live close to you or they may live in a different state than you. You may wonder why these couples want to adopt.
As an adoptive parent, I want to tell you some of the secrets about couples who want to adopt. Not all couples are the same so I have talked to many other adoptive parents and some who are hoping to adopt to hear their thoughts and feelings. Adoption is a difficult journey, so it’s helpful to hear different perspectives.
Couples who want to adopt want to open up their hearts and homes
As you look at profiles of different couples, you will see one of the main things that they share is that they want to love and care for a child. They are hopeful that they can provide for a child and share their home. They want to add to their family and a baby will bring so much happiness into their lives. You may also notice that adoption is something that they have taken time to prepare for. They may even have been praying and hoping that they would someday find the right baby for them. Many adoptive couples don’t just want to open their hearts and homes to a baby, but they also want to have an open relationship with the baby’s birth parents. This is why it can be a beautiful blessing to have an open adoption. In our experience, my husband and I wanted our child to have a relationship with his birth parents and understand that he was loved and lovingly placed into our arms. Our son’s birth parents recognized how much we wanted to care for a child, so they chose us to parent their son and ten years later we continue to have an open adoption with them.
Couples who want to adopt are choosing adoption as their plan
Some couples who want to adopt may have faced infertility. Infertility affects one in eight couples. It is an extremely difficult thing to go through. It is one of the hardest things to know this was a good thing for our family, but we were unable to have biological children. The couples going through infertility may have been through years of treatment and heartbreak. They may have put so much of themselves into growing their family. During their heartbreak, they may have heard a well-meaning friend or family member say, “You should just adopt.” Adoption is not something that a couple “just” does. Couples have gone through infertility and have strived to work through the grief and pain that they have faced. They do not just change their mindset immediately. They understand that adoption is not a cure for infertility and so they are thorough about choosing adoption. A woman, who had just learned she would be unable to have children, told me that she felt like she received an answer to prayer that said, “God sometimes makes people infertile, so they can adopt the children that need to be adopted.” These couples have made a decision to adopt. They do not see their adoption plan as a second choice, but a way that their family can grow. They have prepared by researching adoption, filling out paperwork, having background checks done, and setting up their adoption profiles. They are excited and ready to add to their family.
Some couples who want to adopt did not face infertility, but want to adopt for a number of other reasons. They may feel in their hearts that adoption is how they want to grow their family. They may feel called to adoption and are caring couples that may feel that there is a baby out there for their family. These couples have also done the research and homework that comes with adoption. They are ready to be a family to a child that needs them. They are choosing adoption as their family’s plan.
Couples who want to adopt are not perfect
When you think about couples who want to adopt, remember that it took a lot of vulnerability to put themselves out there. These people have had all areas of their lives questioned and their homes inspected. In their profiles, they are trying to put their best foot forward. In a way, it’s kind of like a dating app, because these couples are putting some of their best photos on their profile and they want to share interests that will appeal to a wider audience. Couples want to share their hobbies, but maybe not share their hobbies that make them look too nerdy. When my husband and I first met our son’s birth mother, it felt a little like a first date. She was making sure we were normal and we were wanting to get to know her. We wanted it to be right for all of us. Couples who want to adopt agonize over most of what goes into their profiles. It was hard to answer questions because I did not want to say that I liked a particular movie only for an expectant parent to hate that movie. I worried about every little thing that we wrote in the profile. We really wanted someone to like us and choose us, but we are not perfect and our son’s birth mother knows that. She wanted us to be his parents because she saw the qualities in us that would make good parents. She had made a list of things that she wanted to find in an adoptive couple and we ticked off many of the boxes. In this article, Katie, a birth mother, talks about the checklist that she made and the ideal situation that she wanted for her daughter. You will want to think about your own checklist for a prospective adoptive couple. Ask yourself what the ideal situation for your child would be. Write down questions that you may want to ask hoping to adopt couples. These couples will be nervous when they are responding because it may be the first time that someone has contacted them. You have the choice about how you want the communication to go. They are not perfect, so you will want to recognize if they have the qualities that you want in parents for your child.
Couples who want to adopt want the adoption to be done legally
This is not a kidnapping. This is not buying a baby. This is an adoption. There are certain things that need to be done correctly through the correct channels for an adoption to be legal. Approved couples who want to adopt already have a home study done. This shows that they have been found suitable persons to adopt. They have been vetted and found to be upstanding individuals capable of parenting a child through adoption. This home study will study their family, relationships, and home. It ensures that it would be safe for a child to be placed with them. Before a placement is made, there will be legal papers that must be signed. The adoption caseworker will be available to make sure that everything is done in a proper order.
Couples who want to adopt are the lucky ones
When someone finds out that my children were adopted, sometimes they will make a comment like, “They are so lucky to have you.” I always answer the same: “I am the lucky one to have them.” They made me a mother. This is a huge part of my identity. I am so happy to be a mother and I every day feel lucky that they are my children even when they make a mess! A fellow adoptive mother told me that she feels much more passionate about parenting after adopting her three children. She wants to make sure that she is the best mother that she can be. She reads parenting books and listens to podcasts that give her ideas on how to best help her children. Another adoptive mother said that she feels so happy that she gets to experience the many unique things that come along with adoption. She thinks immediately of texting a picture to her daughter’s birth mother when her daughter loses a tooth. I love hearing my son laugh because it sounds exactly like his birth mother’s laugh. Sometimes he will make an expression that reminds me of his birth father. After dropping my son off on the first day of kindergarten I immediately texted his birth mother. For Christmas they spent a half hour talking on the phone and then she asked him to pass me the phone and we spent another hour talking about him and about parenting and life. My two younger sons love to lay their heads on my shoulder while we are reading books together. They give me hugs when I tell them that I am making crepes for breakfast. Every night when my boys go to bed they say the same thing, “Good night. I love you. See you tomorrow.” I am definitely the lucky one.
Couples Who Want to Adopt May Feel Like They Have No Control
When we were getting approved for adoption, we were able to get everything accomplished within a few months. After we were approved and our profile was live, we did not know how long it would take for an expectant parent to reach out to us. We hoped that it would come quickly because we felt ready to be parents, but it felt like we had no control on the timeline. We were cautiously optimistic each time we were contacted. We tried not to get our hopes up each time, but it was hard not to consider what might happen if the expectant parent chose us. It seemed to take a long time, and when nine months passed, I felt sad thinking that if I had been pregnant, I would already have a baby. The few contacts that we had did not go farther than a few emails. We worried that we were not rich enough, cute enough, or smart enough. We felt little control over our situation. After over a year, we were contacted by an expectant parent. She had read our profile and our blog. She told us that she wanted us to be her son’s parents. It was the most amazing feeling. It was exactly what we were waiting for. It made the wait worth it to have the right situation come along. She presented us with an ultrasound picture in a frame that said, “Sneak Peek: Wishing, dreaming, waiting, preparing, and anticipating.” It was the perfect gift that covered all the emotions of what we were feeling. She was now a part of our lives and we felt so much gratitude that she had chosen us.
The biggest secret is that there is not really a secret about adoptive couples. Couples wanting to adopt are (mostly) normal people. They are choosing a path to add to their family that may be different than some of their friends and family. Adoptive couples want to share their love and parent a child. The hope that they have is for the right situation to happen. They know that they are being vulnerable and are hoping that someone will choose them. They are genuine in their desire to adopt. They might not be perfect, but there are things that you will find in them that will help you know that they are the right choice to be parents.
Alicia Nelson is a wife and a mother to three rambunctious boys. She is an online teacher and teaches English to Chinese children. Adoption has become her passion. She loves connecting with others on infertility, adoption, and foster care. She enjoys woodworking, being outdoors, listening to podcasts, and reading good books. She lives in Washington state with her family.