But for whatever reason, Cassie was scared. She was worried that she and her husband wouldn’t get chosen by a prospective birthmother, putting an end to her lifelong dream of becoming a parent.
Never mind that she hadn’t even sent her adoption profile out yet. The worst case scenarios were already piling up in her mind.
“What if the birthmother doesn’t find us?”
“What if she doesn’t like us?”
“What if she thinks we’re too old?”
“What if she thinks we’re too fat?”
“What if she thinks we’re not religious enough?”
I call her “Cassie,” but her name could be Susan or Bill or Dan or Elizabeth or any other name for that matter. The fear of not getting chosen by a prospective birthmother is a common one among all types of hopeful adoptive parents.
You could be successful in many aspects of your life. But when it comes to sending out your adoption profile, the fear of failure can take over and eat away at your confidence.
Part of the problem is that for most of us, adoption is a new experience. We often don’t know anyone in our immediate circle who has placed a baby for adoption, let alone adopted one or been adopted.
And so, as with everything new, there’s the fear of the unknown. And yet what’s the point of putting all of that time and effort into creating an online Dear Birthmother Letter — or more accurately, an adoption profile — in the hopes of connecting with a prospective birthmother if you don’t think you stand a chance of clicking with her?
Here are seven ways to conquer your fear and increase your chances of getting chosen.
Don’t make assumptions
It’s easy to convince yourself that all prospective birthmothers are looking for one thing, and that if you don’t possess that one thing — whatever it may be — you’ll never get chosen.
In fact, nothing could be further from the truth. All prospective birthmothers are different, and what they’re looking for varies from one individual to the next.
So don’t second guess yourself and put something in your profile just because you think it’s what a birthmother is looking for or because everyone else has put it in theirs.
Your goal isn’t to sound like everyone else. It’s to stand out from the crowd and make a statement in the hopes of catching the attention of the prospective birthmother that’s looking for you.
Don’t compare yourself to other adopting parents
It’s tempting to look at other couples’ profiles and feel like yours is lacking something or to start questioning yourself about what you have to offer.
But connecting with a birthmother isn’t a contest. It’s a mysterious process that no one can predict. In some cases, it comes down to something as simple and unscientific as being in the right place at the right time.
So don’t waste your time making idle comparisons. For one thing, a prospective birthmother may not even know these other profiles that you’re looking at are out there! Instead, focus your attention on the one profile that counts — yours! — and make it as good as it can be.
Change your profile
With an adoption profile, it’s hard to say everything you want to say in one sitting or to create a definitive picture of yourself. So don’t be afraid to go back and finesse what you’ve written.
The changes don’t have to be major. In fact, depending on what they are, even small tweaks can be significant. The same goes for your photos. Don’t be afraid to mix them up or to try something new.
Again, the adjustments you make may seem like much, but you never know what the person on the other end of your profile will think of them. If you’re lucky, they could end up being the difference between whether you get chosen or not.
Don’t get obsessive
When you’re hoping to adopt, it’s hard to think about anything else. And yet if you’re not careful, your adoption search can take over your entire life and be the only thing you think about.
While making changes to your profile can be useful and serve a purpose, going back to it again and again can become an addiction.
Give it your best shot and then put it aside for a while. Don’t get carried away into thinking that every change or update you make to your profile will improve your chances of getting chosen. Don’t obsess over it at the expense of everything else.
Continue living your life. Constantly fiddling with your letter or photos isn’t just unhealthy. It could keep you from doing other things such networking your profile which could help you get chosen.
Creating a profile is like looking at your reflection in the mirror for the first time and seeing only your imperfections. Putting our lives under the microscope tends to bring out the insecurities in all of us. But don’t let it get you down. When it comes to judging ourselves, we’re our worst enemies.
Prospective birthparents aren’t looking for perfection. They’re looking for adoptive parents who will love their child as much as they do.
Don’t my word for it, though. Find out yourself by reading birthmother stories and finding out how other adoptive parents have built their families through open adoption. It won’t only help you now as you decide what to put in or leave out of your profile, it will also help you down the road once you become an adoptive parent.
Reach out to other adoptive parents
There are so many uncertainties in adoption, and it’s hard to talk about them to people who haven’t gone through the process. Either they won’t understand what you’re feeling or they’ll try to talk you out of your plan and encourage you to seek out other options.
Yet there are many people who have been in your shoes before or who are in your shoes now who would be happy to share their experiences and offer their support.
Because they’ve gone down the same path to parenthood, they’ll be familiar with the ups and downs you’re experiencing and can give you valuable advice that could save you time and money.
Cut yourself some slack
Nature hates a vacuum. So do adoptive parents. When things don’t happen right away or when they take longer we expect, it’s easy to jump in and think the worse. What’s wrong with my profile? What’s wrong with me?
You may have your timetable, but adoption has its own. Just because you haven’t been chosen doesn’t mean you never will be. Trust the process, stay positive and take things one day at a time.
Sometimes you’ll go into adoption with a plan, only to discover that it has another one in store for you. You just haven’t found it yet.
Be patient. Eventually you’ll discover it. Until then, don’t let the fear of the unknown prevent you from fulfilling your dream of becoming an adoptive parent.
What’s your biggest fear? What are you doing to conquer it? Leave your comments in the space below.