Choosing The Parents Who Will Adopt Your Baby


You are able to choose the adoptive parents that you would like to raise your baby. This may sound obvious but, believe it or not, this has not always been the case. Birthmothers of previous generations were not given this choice. So please do not take it lightly!

Having the ability to select the parents who will raise your child is a big responsibility. And finding the right family can seem overwhelming and confusing at times. Before you begin the process of selecting a family for your baby, it is helpful to think about what characteristics you would like a family to have. In addition to the most desired traits like unconditional love and financial security, some birthmothers will look for families that have similar qualities to their own. Or they might look for qualities that their own family lacked, circumstances or living situations they might have wished for growing up. Spend some time thinking about this and decide what the ideal parents for your child would look like.

There are several different ways to go about choosing an adoptive family for your baby. If you are working with an adoption agency, you may be given a stack of family profiles with letters, pictures, and other information designed to give you a glimpse into their lives. Similarly, you can look at profiles of couples hoping to adopt online. If you are looking online, make sure that the family is legally approved to adopt before reaching out to them. (This is a requirement with most reputable adoption profile services.) This ensures that the family is serious about adopting and has had home and criminal background checks performed. Once you find a few parents you like, you might decide to reach out to them in order to begin narrowing down the number of families you are considering. You may have several online communications or meetings with these families before settling upon one. Many families refer to this as a 'match' and once you have made one, you can even consider meeting this family face-to-face. During this process, you will begin to work in earnest with the family and an adoption professional (agency or attorney) to complete the legal aspects of the adoption. However, it is important to remember that the adoption is not yet legal. You may still get cold feet. You may realize that the chosen family is not who you thought they were. You may decide to parent. These are all legitimate feelings and choices. Ending a match can be difficult for all parties but sometimes it is necessary. You must do what is best for you and your child.

Things to Think About When Choosing an Adoptive Family

  • How open do you want your adoption to be?
    In order to have a positive outcome, you’ll want to look for a prospective family that is hoping for the same type of adoption and level of openness that you desire. For example, if you want to scheduled visits with your child, the family should be onboard with this arrangement too. But if they are only interested in video chats or online updates, this may not be the right situation for you. If you prefer to have less contact with your child though the adoptive family wants you to remain very involved, this may signal a problem too.
  • Do you want your baby to be raised in a two-parent home or is a single-parent home acceptable?
    For some mothers, not being able to provide a stable father is one of the main reasons for placing their baby in an adoption agreement. But for others, a single-parent placement may be suitable if that parent can completely provide for the child. It is important to keep in mind that divorce and even death can happen in adoptive families. Just because you choose a two-parent family does not mean that it will always be a two-parent family.
  • Do you want your baby to be raised by a heterosexual couple or same-sex couple? A single-parent or two-parent family? Some mothers may gravitate toward same-sex male couples, wishing to remain the only mother her child has. Others may desire a more traditional family. Still others may want a single woman to raise her child. This is a personal preference but definitely one you will want to consider before you start meeting families.
  • Do you want your child to have siblings?
    An adoptive family might have plans to adopt again and then for various reasons, it does not happen. Or they might plan on only one child until circumstances suddenly change. While you cannot control these circumstances, it doesn't hurt to ask the family about their plans. Consider all the possibilities but please understand that this one may be out of your hands.
  • How important is a stay-at-home parent?
    For some women choosing adoption, this may be a very important quality as it is something they can’t give their child. For others, a stay-at-home parent may not really matter all that much. Again, keep in mind that circumstances can change and the stay-at-home parent may eventually choose to go back to school or work.
  • Is religion a factor?
    It might be important to you that your baby is raised by a family that shares your religious beliefs. Or you might feel that a loving environment is far more important than any religious affiliations. If religion is important to you, don't hesitate to ask a family about their beliefs as soon as possible.
  • Is location an issue?
    If you are hoping for an open adoption, you may wish to choose from families that are nearby or at least living in your state.
  • Are the races or ethnicity of the prospective adoptive parents important to you?
    Some women who are giving birth to biracial children will choose a couple with at least one member who is the same race as her child. This way the child might grow up learning about his or her ethnicity.

Questions to Ask a Prospective Adoptive Family

Here are some questions you may wish to ask a prospective adoptive family. You'll also think of others. Tip: You may want to jot some of these down so that you don’t forget which ones are important to you if you are feeling overwhelmed.

About Their Relationship

  • How did the prospective adoptive parents meet?
  • How long have they been married?
  • What number of marriage is this for each partner?
  • What are their thoughts and feelings on what makes a strong marriage?

About Their Education and Careers

  • Did the prospective parents receive any education after high school?
  • What profession is each of the prospective adoptive parents?
  • Do their careers offer long-term financial security?
  • What are their future career goals?

About Their Family Life and Home

  • Do the prospective adoptive parents have any children? If they do have children, are they biological or adopted?
  • If adopted, what type of relationship do they have with their child’s birthmother?
  • Is one of the prospective adoptive parents a stay-at-home parent? If not, where will the child be while they are working?
  • Do they own their own home? If so, in what type of neighborhood is it? Are there good schools nearby?
  • What is their philosophy on education?
  • What is their parenting style? How do they discipline?
  • Are they involved in their community? If so, what type of involvement do they have?
  • Do they have extended family nearby who can help with your child, if needed?
  • What is their relationship with each of their families?
  • What do they do on holidays? What traditions are important to them?

About Adoption

  • Why do the prospective adoptive parents want to adopt?
  • What kind of adoption are they hoping for?
  • How do the prospective adoptive parent’s families and friends feel about their adoption plans?
  • Do they belong to any adoption support or play groups in their area?
  • Have they had any education about issues some adoptees may face growing up?
  • Are they willing to give you the type of contact you want after the birth and relinquishment of the baby? (visits, pictures, videos, letters, etc.) How do they feel about your wishes to remain involved in your child's life?
  • If they desire an open adoption, are they willing to have a post-adoption contact agreement?
  • When and how do they intend to explain adoption to a child?
  • How will you they teach your child to refer to you?

About Their Religion

  • What religion or faith are the prospective adoptive parents?
  • How big of a role does faith play in their lives?
  • Do they regularly attend a church? If so, what is their involvement in church?