Once an expectant woman or birth mother has chosen adoption, and she has chosen the type of adoption (i.e. open, semi-open, or *closed), the next step is then to choose the right family to raise the child. When working with an adoption agency, you will be given several family profiles to review.
*If the birth mother chooses a closed adoption, she will have no say in the family that is chosen.
In a semi-open or open adoption, the birth mother must consider many variables as she thinks about the type of family that she desires to care for her child. The birth mother may find that she has preferences regarding particular characteristics in potential adoptive parents. Such characteristics may include preferences for particular:
- Ethnic or cultural backgrounds
- Religious backgrounds
- Family dynamics (such as traditional mother father, same-sex couple, or single or individual family)
- Parenting styles
- Lifestyles and/or
- Discipline methods
The adoptive family profile will often describe their family, backgrounds, dynamics, values, and more. Often, the birth mother will be drawn to a family she reviews and "just know" they are her perfect family. But not always! And in that case, Adoption Choices of Florida will help!
Birth mothers may also have preferences regarding:
- Whether extended family is available to help raise the child
- Whether the adoptive parents have other children already
- Whether the adoptive parents plan to tell the child he/she is adopted
- (In an open adoption) how much contact will occur between birth and adoptive parents and how broadly that contact may occur (and/or will it be okay if birth-grandparents see the adopted child?)
- Whether the adoptive parents or birth mother will name the child
- How involved the adoptive parents will be in the pregnancy and birth
The selection process begins when the birth mother receives profiles describing potential adoptive families. Each profile includes a history of the adoptive parents, their reasons for wanting to adopt, their attitudes and beliefs concerning the adoption process, the results from the social workers’ home study, and more.
Typically a birth mother will be given between three to five families to consider as a starting point. The agency will have already done a thorough interview with the birth mother concerning her preferences and will have worked to match those preferences with appropriate available families.
What comes next varies based on the type of adoption being contemplated. In an open adoption the birth mother has an opportunity to meet with families with profiles she likes. This meeting process may or may not occur in a semi-open adoption. When they occur, such meetings typically take place at the adoption agency. Both parties are afforded a chance to ask questions and learn about the other person’s or couple’s background.
A meeting between birth mother and potential adoptive parents can be very uncomfortable and anxiety-producing for both sides. The potential adoptive parents will feel that they need to be on their “best behavior” so as to convey the birth mother that they are the right family for the child. For the birth mother, it can be very difficult to meet with multiple people who desperately want to adopt a child when it is clear that she cannot satisfy them all.
Despite any potential for discomfort, many birth mothers and adoptive parents alike find that such meetings yield valuable information. Both birth mothers and potential adoptive parents may use the information they gain in a meeting to arrive at a decision as to whether there is a match or not. This is a critical decision for both parties, especially in an open adoption where contact may continue throughout the life of the child. Therefore, it is important that everyone feels it is a good match. Multiple meetings may need to occur before all are comfortable that a firm decision to pursue the adoption together can be made.
Adoption Choices of Florida will assist birth mothers with all of these crucial decisions as well as facilitate initial meetings with potential adoptive parents. We are here to ease the stress, concerns, and difficulties through the adoption process and will yield compassion, understanding, as well as commitment to everyone in the adoption triad!