Being matched with a prospective birth mother can be an exciting moment, but in an open adoption, the match is just the beginning. Even though we will typically match you with a potential birth mother late in her pregnancy, it’s important that you get to know the birth parents in this time before the baby is born.
Our social workers at the Law Offices of James Fletcher Thompson can help mediate this pre-placement contact, putting you and the prospective birth parents at ease as you navigate this rewarding part of your open adoption.
The first time you contact your prospective birth mother can be intimidating, which is why we’ve answered some of the most common questions you may have ahead of time:
1. What kind of pre-placement contact should I expect?
Pre-placement contact can include anything from a conference call mediated by your social worker to emails back and forth to in-person visits. Usually, a prospective birth mother will have in mind the extent of contact she desires before she chooses an adoptive family. You can always speak with our professionals at the Law Offices of James Fletcher Thompson about the type of relationship you want to have with a birth mother, which will assist us in the matching process.
Keep in mind, as a prospective birth mother and adoptive family become more comfortable with each other, the amount of pre- and post-placement contact may change.
An open adoption also makes it more likely that you will be present for the birth of your adopted child. A birth mother may ask the adoptive families to come to the hospital when she gives birth, where they will likely meet with and interact with her and her family. Depending on her hospital birth plan, you might even be able to be in the delivery room when the baby is born. For some adoptive families matched with last-minute adoptions, this may be the first chance they have to get to know the birth parents.
2. Why should I get to know the birth parents?
Adoption is a lifelong journey that you will take with your child’s birth parents. By getting to know them after you are matched, the open adoption process after placement will be much easier and more enriching for all involved.
Getting to know the prospective birth parents will give you the chance to ask any questions you have about their desires for their child, their life and their goals for the future. It will also help you understand their expectations for the open adoption relationship. Building a solid relationship with your baby’s birth parents from the start can also bring you a sense of pride in knowing that these people specifically chose you to raise their baby.
Your pre-placement contact with the birth parents will also provide many benefits for them — mainly, reassurance that they have made the right choice with adoption and with you as their child’s adoptive parents. It gives the prospective birth mother a chance to ask you any questions she has to better envision their child’s life with you, reaffirming her decision to choose adoption and decreasing the likelihood that she will change her mind after the baby is born.
3. How do I talk with prospective birth parents?
Your first meeting with the birth parents can be nerve-wracking. Much like you might feel before a first date, you’ll be nervous about what to say and what not to say. However, keep in mind that the expectant parents are nervous as well, and you will have an adoption counselor there to help guide the meeting.
In general, like a first date, you’ll want to keep the conversation casual and lighthearted. Because you’ll have plenty of chances to discuss the adoption with the birth parents in the future, that’s not a topic you’ll want to talk about too seriously in your first few conversations. If the birth mother has brought along the birth father or another of her family members, make sure that you include them in the conversation and make them feel welcome.
4. What are appropriate questions to ask the birth parents?
When you’re first getting to know the prospective birth parents, you’ll want to stick to easy topics that help you know more about them as people. Some good questions to ask are:
- What are your interests and hobbies?
- How are you feeling?
- What did you like about our profile? Do you have any questions about our lives?
- What kinds of activities do you see your child doing?
As you and the prospective birth parents become more comfortable with each other, you may be able to ask more personal questions about why they chose adoption and their goals for the future. When in doubt, you’ll want to consult your social worker to see what’s appropriate.
5. What topics should I avoid when getting to know the birth parents?
Usually, you’ll want to avoid invasive questions during pre-placement contact, as these are questions that are better asked by an adoption counselor in a different setting. The purpose of pre-placement contact is to reassure the potential birth parents they’ve made the right choice. Because the prospective birth mother will likely be very emotional at this point in her pregnancy, you’ll want to be sensitive to any issues that might be difficult for her, including:
- Past pregnancies
- Medical history
- Uninvolved birth fathers
- Unsupportive family members
While getting to know the prospective birth parents you’ve been matched with can be intimidating, it will be incredibly beneficial in the long run. Your open adoption will likely have some challenges, but establishing a solid relationship with your baby’s birth parents will alleviate some of the difficulties that may arise.
Our in-house social workers will be there for you as you navigate your new relationship with your prospective birth parents. For more information on how the Law Offices of James Fletcher Thompson can help you find a birth parent and create a lasting open adoption relationship, please call us at 964-573-5533 or contact us online.