If you have found yourself in the midst of an unplanned pregnancy, there are a lot of things probably going through your mind right now. Before I begin this article, it is important to me that we take a minute of reflection and commend you for your bravery, strength, and courage. Whatever plan you decide for you and your baby will have a lifelong impact, and I hope you are in a position that you can weigh all your options, and reach a decision that you can be most comfortable with.
If you are reading this article, you may be interested in finding an adoptive family using parent profiles. This is a route that has become more and more common, especially with the aid of online resources.
For the sake of this article, we will discuss this process with the layout and setup of adoption.com in mind.
I have met a number of expectant mothers, who, in their consideration of placement, have wondered if they could choose the adoptive parents for their baby. The answer is yes! If you choose to place your baby for adoption, you will have the ability to choose the adoptive parents.
It’s truly incredible to see just how many resources there are now for all the members of the adoption community. There are so many places to turn to at all steps in the adoption process. If you don’t want to go through the process alone, you don’t have to!
When I first became involved in the adoption community, I would visit adoption websites just to peruse the adoptive parent profiles. I was fascinated to read people’s stories and see what tidbits they decided to include from their life in their profiles.
Hopeful Adoptive Parents
Couples and individuals hoping to adopt construct adoption profiles as a way to give expectant parents a way to see into their world. They include things like hobbies, religion, ethnicity, careers, and the list goes on. On Adoption.com, the profiles are set up like a personalized website for the hopeful adoptive parents.
When you get to the page that has the hopeful adoptive parents listed, you may be overwhelmed by the large number of profiles listed. There are so many couples and individuals hoping to adopt.
You may feel a desire to start going through the profiles in chronological order, or you may want to narrow it down. You can click the option to do an advanced search, where you can go through and select the traits you consider the most important. If having a married couple, or a single parent is your preference, then you can choose accordingly. This way you can narrow down the profiles to start sorting through the hopeful adoptive parents that fit your top priorities.
Once you have narrowed down your results, or if you decided to just start going through all available options, you can go ahead and click on the profiles given to you.
When you open an adoptive parent profile on Adoption.com, you will first see a brief synopsis, as well as introductory photos or a video. This will cover ethnicity, religion, expectations for relationships with prospective birth parents, and give an idea of what they are looking for in a child.
There is a menu at the top of the page of each profile that allows you to navigate different segments of their profiles. You can learn more about them, see photos and videos, and read through their blog. Some profiles may vary depending on what has been uploaded. Some profiles even include written statements about hopeful adoptive parents by their family and friends.
Things to Look for in Hopeful Adoptive Parents
Hopefully, you are in a place that you can truly take your time to go through the profiles. The decision to place, as mentioned earlier, is one that will have lifelong consequences. Where possible, please don’t rush your decision.
In speaking with birth parents, there is a very common theme. Birth parents that have generally had more success in their adoption story found adoptive parents that resembled who they aspire to be if they ever parent their own child (or who they would want to be for the child they place).
As discussed in the last section, you can narrow down your search results to your top priorities. You may feel strongly about your child being raised Catholic, Christian, Atheist, etc., so that may be something you have as a non-negotiable as you read through profiles.
My own birth mother had hoped to find a family that resembled who she hoped to be as a mother someday. Her decision to place me for adoption was largely made in part because of her young age and financial situation. She graduated five months pregnant with me and delivered me when she was the young age of 19. She still lived with her parents at the time of my birth.
She, unfortunately, had very little time to read through profiles. She had kept the pregnancy a secret from everyone but my birth father until the day that I was born. An agency was called from the hospital, and a stack of hopeful adoptive parents was brought to her bed.
As she and my birth father read through the profiles, she searched for a couple that was what she hoped to be for her own kids someday.
She felt strongly about the religion the family would raise me in, but also a myriad of smaller things that played big parts in her decision. Faith was important, but so was spending time together. She loved that my parents mentioned going on drives every Sunday. She loved that my parents were both musical. She hoped that I would be raised loving music myself, as she had a love of music herself.
One factor that caught her attention was the mention that my dad drove a Jeep Wagoneer. As a Jeep enthusiast herself, my birth mom felt an affinity with my dad.
She appreciated that this couple already had a daughter and that she was also adopted. This appealed to her because she wanted me to have a sibling, and the fact that this girl was also adopted meant that I wouldn’t feel different than my sister if she had been biological.
She described her feelings choosing my parents: “There was something comfortable and stable about the way they described their life.” She noted it stood out to her that it wasn’t anything “flashy”. Their life was “caring, adventurous, consistent”. As a young girl with spunk, her older sister even noticed how “normal” the family she had chosen was.
But my birth mom felt that this couple was anything but normal! She remembers thinking that she knew just from reading the profile that these people were about to become a permanent part of her own life story.
She appreciated that this couple had a strong sensitivity for the expectant parents who would be reading their letter. They understood and appreciated the gravity of the decision that was being made.
They had addressed their letter with, “Dear friend”. They expressed their concern for the well-being of the expectant parents and recognized that if they were to receive a baby through adoption, it would be through the pain of the expectant parents. They wanted to ensure their gratitude went further than just receiving a bundle of joy. They also included the fact that just being considered for a baby was a great honor that they held in very, very high esteem.
As I’ve said, there may be things that you are unwavering about. Religion, employment status, ethnicity, etc. may be things you will not negotiate, but there are some things that will require a bit of compromise.
If a parent profile checks almost all your boxes but doesn’t reference or include a hobby you feel strongly about having, you may need to take inventory and compromise if it’s not necessary. If you grew up in a home camping, skiing, or singing, dancing, and you imagine your own baby growing up similarly, you may consider the true importance of those things. While you may have idealistic hopes for the hobbies of the family your baby is raised in, you may find that soccer isn’t as important as other aspects of their life. Or, you may decide that a hobby or interest is non-negotiable.
Have your expectations, but also remember to keep them realistic. If something is important to you, keep it at the forefront of your mind, but also allow room for negotiation if you have a long list of priorities. Don’t settle, but be mindful not to pass up a good option just because they don’t play the piano.
Words of Warning
I had the opportunity a while back to talk to a birth mother about the things that she had learned since placing her daughter for adoption. This birth mother, unfortunately, made her decision in haste and didn’t see the red flags in the profile until after the adoption was finalized.
She wishes she could talk to expectant mothers considering adoption, and remind them that there are hopeful adoptive parents that will say whatever they feel they need to to get a baby in their arms. The choice to adopt is often made after some trauma, inability, or sadness such as infertility.
This birth mom expressed that the family she chose checked every single box. When she started talking to them to get to know them better, that’s when she discovered that they were seemingly willing to meet every request. Every proposition she made was greeted with an emphatic agreement. They were picture perfect!
But it was just that… perfect for the picture.
She recognizes now that she hadn’t heard a single hardship from the family. They only shared the beauty of their family, and nothing was said of struggles or life lessons. All the photos included seemed staged, and there were no candid photos included.
She offered, as she put it, “words of warning”:
- If a profile seems absolutely perfect, it may be too good to be true.
- Find couples that address their concern and gratitude for expectant mothers without being prompted. She even went further by saying that you may want to avoid profiles that explicitly refer to expectant mothers as “birth mothers”. (You are not a birth mother until the adoption is finalized. You can change your mind at any point until then, and you do not owe hopeful adoptive parents anything–especially your baby.)
- Look for candid photos! She sees the value now of families that show more of a personalized glimpse into their life, not just the ability to stand and pose for the camera.
As mentioned earlier, Adoption.com has some helpful tools as you begin your process of finding an adoptive family using parent profiles.
I want to go a little deeper into this feature, and some advice as you start filing through the hopeful adoptive parent profiles.
I was amazed looking at first glance at the options that are listed on the advanced search. I don’t know if I would have realized that some of the options are even out there. You are able to specify if you want there to already be children in the home. You are able to even go a step further and specify if you have a preference if the children in the home are biological, adopted, or if a mix.
Other options on the advanced search I had considered before, as I’m sure many expectant parents have, such as the region where hopeful adoptive parents are living. If you are hoping for a semi-open or open adoption, it’s important to consider where they are living and their proximity to you.
Don’t Go It Alone
You may not want opinions, and that’s okay, but if you find yourself overwhelmed, you can turn to a myriad of sources for a variety of helpful solutions.
If you want more input on what to look for in a family, you may want to talk with birth moms about what led them to the decision they made, if there are things they would have done differently with more experience under their belt, etc.
You may want to include family, friends, or a significant other in reading profiles to hear their thoughts on prospective parents. They may be able to bring insight you wouldn’t have found on your own, or they may bring up things that you disagree with, thus reiterating your wants.
The decision to place your baby for adoption is one that, as stated throughout this article, will have a lifelong impact. That is a lot of pressure to put on one person. If you can, I highly encourage you to find a handful of people to form a support group.
The decisions before you are monumental, so don’t go it alone. You don’t have to.
I wish you peace in this time of decision-making. You are brave and courageous for considering the needs of yourself and your baby.Are you considering adoption and want to give your child the best life possible? Let us help you find an adoptive family that you love. Visit Adoption.org or call 1-800-ADOPT-98.