Choosing an Adoptive Family
Choosing a family for your child can be overwhelming. There are so many wonderful families out there who are hoping to adopt . . . how do you pick one for your child?
Here are a few steps that may help you in the decision-making process.
Make a list.
A lot of expectant parents find this to be an easy way to filter potential families while searching for a good match. As a birth mother, this is a tool I used to find my daughter’s family.
Start with the non-negotiables: the things that are extremely important to you. Do you want an open adoption? Do you want your child raised in a religious home? Do you want them to be a first or only child? Whatever it may be, list these things first.
Next, make a list of the less vital things. Would you like them to be raised in a certain area? Would you like them to have certain family traditions? Would you like them to have interests similar to yours? These are the things that you would like a potential family to have, but wouldn’t be “deal breakers”-- you’d still consider a family without these characteristics.
Once you have made your list, you can start your search!
Follow your instincts.
Even though a list can be extremely helpful, a lot of expectant parents still like to follow their heart while making this decision. I started the search for my daughter’s family very logically. I made my list and wanted to find a family that matched that list exactly, but once I actually started my search, I quickly realized that choosing a family for my baby was not just a logical decision, but also an emotional one.
I remember looking at families that matched my list--they had everything I could want for my daughter, but it just didn’t feel right. I had no explanation as to why it did not feel right, but I followed my gut instinct and kept on searching. Eventually I found her family. They happened to match my list perfectly, but that is not the only thing that influenced my decision to pick them--it was also the sense of comfort and peace I felt while looking at their profile.
You may find a family that you know without a doubt is meant to raise your child, even if they don’t measure up to your list. Trust that feeling and follow what feels right.
You may second guess yourself--we all know following your gut can be hard--so don’t be afraid to meet with or speak with different couples, which leads us to our next suggestion . . .
Make real life connections.
Meeting or speaking with several families is okay! This can be a good way to compare and see what feels good and what doesn’t. Having a connection with the family is so important! You may think the family is a good match, but when you meet or speak with them, the feeling may not be as strong as you hoped. This may be discouraging, but don’t let it get you down. There is a perfect match out there for you and your child.
When meeting with potential adoptive parents, ask questions! Find out what their values are, what their hobbies are, how they plan to raise your child. This is the perfect opportunity to learn more about them and make sure it is a good fit.
Make sure you find a family you have a strong connection with. If at any point during the process you start to feel uncomfortable with your choice or you think they may not be the right fit for you and your child, you have the right to choose a different family!
Take your time.
There is no rush in selecting a family. This a huge decision and one you should not make lightly. Take your time, think it over, and do what feels right.
If at any point you start to feel overwhelmed, take a break. Do not let others influence you in this decision or make you feel rushed to pick a family. You have every right to make this decision as quickly or as slowly as you would like.
Remember, this is your child’s future and you have been given the opportunity to hand-select the perfect family for them.
AUTHOR: Haley Kirkpatrick