You’ve found an open adoption match — congrats!
Just think, your dream of becoming a parent is about to become a reality!
And while it’s tempting to sit back and just count down the days until you hold that baby in your arms, the truth is it’s not that simple.
For many waiting parents, connecting with an expectant mother with an adoption plan often creates a new level of anxiety and wave of conflicting emotions.
Here are 5 things you can expect to face — and feel — immediately after an expectant mother (or parents) have connected with you, and how to handle them.
1. You’ll be on Cloud 9
Being chosen by an expectant mother is a lot like winning the lottery.
What are the chances that someone would not only find you among the hundreds of other couples and singles out there, but also choose you to be the parents for her baby?
No wonder so many adoptive parents describe the event as “an honor” and “a privilege.”
Connecting with an expectant mother not only vindicates all of the hard work, pain and sacrifices you’ve experienced to get to that point, it’s also an amazing ego-boaster.
Just think — she chose us! Our strengths shone through in our profile and she was the only one who was perceptive enough to recognize them!
Go ahead and soak up every minute of your exciting news. Enjoy the feeling while it lasts because, in many ways, your emotional rollercoaster ride has just begun.
2. You’ll be down in the dumps
Hold on, you’re probably thinking, I thought you said we’d be on Cloud 9?
We did and you will. Finding an adoption match brings with it an indescribable feeling of triumph and joy.
But once the initial excitement of that realization wears off and reality sets in, the fears and doubts have a way of piling up.
What if this is too good to be true? What if the expectant parents change their minds? What if they decide to parent? How do I know if I’ll be a good parent? What happens if the baby doesn’t like me or I have problems bonding with her?
All of these questions are perfectly normal. In fact, they’re part of the evolutionary process. As humans, we’re hardwired to protect ourselves from danger.
Adopting a baby isn’t dangerous, but it is unpredictable — alternating between huge highs and loathsome lows.
And that makes it risky. And emotionally messy.
The more you understand how the process works, the more you’ll realize how hard it is to control it — and your feelings.
So don’t worry if one moment you feel ten feet tall and the next one you want to curl up into a ball. It’s all part of the journey and — when the time comes to look back on it — part of your own unique adoption story.
3. You’ll need to start building your relationship with the expectant parents
Because the open adoption process is so unpredictable, it’s hard to make plans beyond one day at a time.
After all, things could change on a dime so you don’t want to get caught flat-footed by jumping too far ahead of yourself.
At the same time, you do need to start thinking ahead. And one thing you’ll need to do right away is start building your relationship with the expectant parents.
Unlike other adoptions, in open adoption you not only know who the birthparents are. You can have a real relationship with them.
For all intents and purposes, that relationship begins the day they chose you to become their baby’s parents.
As you wait for the baby’s due date to arrive, there’s so much you’ll need to sort out — starting with who will contact whom, when, and how often.
Plus, you’ll need to create a hospital and post-placement plan together. But those sensitive conversations can come later, after you’ve gotten to know each other better and are more comfortable.
Like every new relationship, things may be a bit bumpy at first. But over time, you’ll find a rhythm that works for you.
And this in turn will help reduce a lot of the stress and uncertainty surrounding your situation, especially when things take an unexpected turn one way or another as they often do in open adoptions.
4. You’ll need to decide who to tell and when and how to tell them
Who should you tell about your match and what should you tell them? Unfortunately, it’s not an easy subject.
And given all the complications involved in a placement and the stereotypes surrounding open adoption and birthmothers in general, announcing your news may be more trouble than it’s worth — especially to people who you don’t know well or aren’t supportive of your adoption plans.
But at the same time, you don’t want to offend your friends and loved ones by keeping such an important development as a new baby to yourself.
Meanwhile, at work, you don’t want to leave your boss and co-workers high and dry by keeping it a secret until the very last minute.
As with so much of the adoption process, you’re going to need to find a solution that works for you while keeping in mind that the situation is volatile and that things could change at any time.
5. You’ll need to make a decision about the baby nursery
A new baby changes everything. But how many adjustments should you make to your life and home as you wait for him or her to arrive?
For a lot of waiting adoptive parents, that’s the big question. Should I prepare a nursery now or wait until the baby comes home?
As with so many things, the answer is up to you. If you’re the type that likes to keep busy, preparing the nursery is a great way to be proactive and pass the time.
But if doing it will make you feel uneasy and you’re superstitious and worry about jinxing yourself, then put it off until after the papers are signed and revocation period ends, when the risk of a fall-through has passed.
Being matched with expectant parents is one of the most exciting parts of the adoption process. And one of the most unpredictable.
However, knowing what lies ahead can help you plan for your future and help you make the most of your relationship with the expectant parents as you wait for the placement day to arrive.
Do you have an open adoption story? Email us any time or find out more about how to share it with our community.
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