The world of adoption is uncharted territory for new hopeful adoptive parents. There are many books and articles full of advice and things that hopeful adoptive parents should do. What about things they shouldn’t? Here are five things that hopeful adoptive parents should never do.
The #1 mistake that hopeful adoptive parents make with expectant parents is overpromising. It’s easy to promise lots of pictures and visits before the baby comes, especially if that makes the expectant parents more comfortable placing with you. But what about after? Life gets busy with a new baby, and you might not be as comfortable with the updates and visits as you thought you were.
A good rule of thumb is to under promise and over deliver. Only promise an expectant parent the bare minimum contact that you can maintain 5, 10, and 15 years down the road. If it turns out that you can do more than that, great! Please do so. Just don’t promise an expectant parent that you’ll do more than you really can, because that will break their trust and their hearts.
2. Over Share
If you are matched with an expectant mother, be careful what you share. Sharing ultrasound photos, pregnancy updates, etc. on social media as if they were your own is not very tactful. The pregnancy is hers, and unless she specifically gives you permission, it is not your place to share details about her baby. When papers are signed and all is squared away, go for it! Shout your joy from the rooftops! But beforehand, be sensitive to the fact that even if you’re matched, the baby is still hers until she officially places with you.
3. Fake It
It makes sense. There are thousands of profiles with picture perfect couples in big houses with perfectly manicured lawns. Everyone else seems so much better than you. How will you ever stand out? It’s tempting to be fake, to hide your flaws and not let anyone know you’re not perfect. But most expectant parents don’t care about fancy cars or beautiful headshots. They want to see you for you. Your hobbies and interests, your relationship with your extended family, everything that makes you who you are. You don’t have to be perfect. You never know, maybe it’s one of your quirks that will draw the eye of the expectant parent carrying the child meant for you.
4. Do It Alone
You need support during this difficult and exciting time. Don’t try to go through it all alone. Turn to your family and friends. If they don’t understand, find a therapist that specializes in adoption or online forums. Find people you can turn to who will celebrate with you, and support you when times are hard.
5. Give Up Hope
Your journey to adoption might be years of hurry up and wait. It might seem like everyone is being matched except you. There will be nights when you feel like you are pouring all your energy and money into something that will never happen. Don’t give up. Maybe tomorrow you will get the call. Maybe next year, or two years, or more. But in the end, it won’t matter how long you waited. When you hold your new baby in your arms, it will all be worth it.