adopting blog

Inspiration, Resources, Opinions & Advice From Our Adoption Community

After the Connection: Working with an Expectant Mother, Part One

entry.blogHeroImage.one().title

Now that your profile has been selected by an expectant mother considering adoption, I’m certain you’re feeling anxious, excited, and nervous all at once. Your thoughts and emotions are all going in a million different directions and you’ve probably put an immense amount of pressure on yourself before the actual first contact, whether on the phone or in person. While I’m not an adoptive parent and haven’t been in your exact position I can offer the perspective of someone who has been on the “other side” of this meeting and perhaps offer some suggestions.

In my next article I plan to discuss more of the practicalities you’ll probably want to think about and prepare to discuss in the meeting. But this article focuses more on emotional preparation.

We feel the same way you do.

I know that may be difficult to believe but we’ve put an immense amount of pressure on ourselves as well. Just as you want us to like you we desperately want you to like us. Whether this is our first and only match meeting or whether we’ve met other hopeful adoptive parents, we feel similar pressures to make this match work.

Our emotions are a mess.

We are dealing with all of the emotions inspired and brought on by pregnancy as well as the emotional turmoil caused by our decision to relinquish our children. In other words, if we seem excessively happy, sad, or angry, don’t assume that you’re the cause of those emotions. They may be partially in response to you or they may have nothing to do with you at all.

We are scared just as you are.

We may not be afraid for the same reasons but the fear is there from both sides. If we’ve both expressed a desire for an open adoption we might not be sure how to proceed with the relationship if we get to the point where we select you to parent our child. We struggle with fears that you won’t keep the promises you’ve made, whether unspoken or spoken. Honestly a bit of that particular fear never really disappears no matter how well the relationship is working. I love my daughter’s parents dearly and feel very close to them. However that irrational worry that they’re going to “take the baby and run” still rears its ugly head from time to time.

We might change our mind about adoption.

This is definitely an unpleasant subject. However until the relinquishment documents are signed it’s a possibility that we could change our mind about adoption. It might be about adoption versus parenting or unfortunately we might change our minds about the selection of you to be our child’s parent(s). I believe the former is more possible than the latter. Though we might be making an adoption decision out of desperation, the people we choose to be our child’s parents is rarely a decision we regret. If a mother selects you to be her child’s parents and then decides to parent any time before signing relinquishment documents (or even after if your state allows for a period where termination may be revoked), that decision is not about you as people nor is it a statement about your potential parenting abilities. I know it must be easy to think of it that way and to feel rejected. Ultimately as much as we will grow to love you as our relationship develops, we make our adoption decisions or lack thereof because we feel it is the best choice for our child, not because we want to make you happy.

Get to know the mom as a person.

In other words, yes she is carrying a baby that she might relinquish to adoption. But she is also a human with thoughts, feelings, likes and dislikes. I know it will be difficult as your focus will be on the baby she’s carrying. But when you allow yourself to ignore the baby and focus on her as a person I think you’ll find your world will expand. If she does choose adoption and relinquishes her baby to you, your knowledge of who she is will also give you insights into your child.

Final Thoughts

I hope that these general points will allow you to approach a first meeting with a little less trepidation and anxiety, giving you a much greater chance of connecting with the expectant mom on a personal level. In my next article, we'll discuss more of the practicalities (language, mannerisms, do's and don'ts) you’ll probably want to think about as you prepare for your initial meeting.