Next to deciding whether adoption is right for you, the hardest decision you’ll have to make is choosing an adoptive family for your baby.
With so many couples available, how do you know which one is right for you? And just as importantly, how do you know whether the one you choose will follow through with all of the promises they make?
If you’re like many expectant parents with an adoption plan, you probably already started your search online.
At first glance, many of the couples you’ve come across probably look alike to you. They’re all
- Successful looking
But as you take a closer look at their profile and photos, certain things will jump out at you that will eventually set them apart.
It could be something minor like a
- detail in their letter
- facial expression in one of their photos
- even a hairstyle or an article of clothing
As they say, when you see it, you’ll know whether they’re the right ones for you.
But even before you get to this stage, you can make the process a lot easier on yourself by going into it with a clear idea of what you want in your child’s adoptive parents.
- Do you want a heterosexual couple or an LGBT one?
- Suburban or urban? Close by or faraway?
- With or without other children?
Everything is on the table at this point because anything is possible. It’s up to you to decide what is important and what is non-negotiable.
Don’t be too concerned at the outset if
- you’re overwhelmed by all of the choices you have
- you don’t think you’ll find the parents that will meet your expectations
- you’re worried that adoptive parents won’t love you or your child the way you do
Many expectant mothers go into the process with those fears and eventually find what they’re looking for. But it doesn’t happen overnight. It takes time.
As well it should. The decision you make now will have an impact on your life and your child’s for years to come. So it’s important to take as much time as you need now to find the parents that check all of the right boxes.
The advantages of finding a family online
Finding an adoptive family online rather than through an agency gives you total control over the process. You and you alone make all of the choices. There’s nobody else around to tell you want to do or to question your decision.
You also potentially have a larger pool of adoptive parents to choose from. Unlike an agency that will only show you adoptive parents it works with, going online will expose to a much larger and broader selection of hopeful adoptive parents.
In order to get to that point, all of the parents will have undergone a thorough screening process by adoption specialists in their state so it’s not like you’re just choosing random people that you can find anymore. For example, all of the couples on our site have been pre-approved to adopt and are qualified to raise a child through adoption.
Look beyond their parent profile
A couple’s online profiles will tell you basic things about them like where they’re from, what they like to do in their spare time, and maybe even their thoughts about parenting and adoption. But you shouldn’t go by their descriptions alone.
For one thing, someone else may have had a hand in writing and creating their profile. So you really need to reach out to them and make sure that they are who they say they are. That means asking them questions about things that are important to you or haven’t been addressed in the profile.
Even if a topic has been addressed, it’s important to hear them explain it in their own words to you directly, whether it be through an email, by phone or eventually, in person. Don’t be afraid to ask them questions.
Some of the things you may want to ask are
- what kind of child care plans do you have?
- will one of you stay at home to look after my child?
- what are your thoughts about everything from diets to diapers?
Those are more immediate questions. But you may also want to ask ones that are more long-term such as
- what are your thoughts about education?
- what role does religion and faith play in your lives?
- are you planning to adopt more children?
Go with your gut
They or you may change your mind about some of these bigger issues over time, but it’s still good to know where they stand on major issues now so that you have a better idea about what to expect later. And of course, there’s nothing you can do later to tie them to their words. However, if there are things about them that don’t sit well with you now, chances are things will only get worse down the road.
You may not get everything you want but go with your gut and listen to what it tells you. You may decide that something that was originally important to you isn’t a game-changer for you now now that you’ve gotten to know them and feel confident about your relationship.
Unfortunately, post-adoption agreements are unenforceable so it’s important that you have a good feeling about them now and a strong sense that they will do what they say they will do for you and your child in the future.
Get a second opinion
If you’re still unsure about your decision to find a family or about the family you’ve chosen share your concerns with someone whose opinions you trust and get their thoughts on the situation. As well, there are many support groups for woman who have placed a baby for adoption who will be only too happy to discuss their experiences and what they looked for when they were searching for a family for their child.
Plus, there are professionals that you can consult free of charge who can explain the process to you in more detail and help you find the family you’re looking for. Many expectant moms say that upon finding the right family everything else in the process suddenly clicked and came together.
And keep in mind that if the adoptive family you’ve chosen doesn’t live up to your expectations before the placement you’re under no obligation to stick with them. Despite what anyone else says about you or your decision, you have the right to choose the family that you think is right for you.
One of the disadvantages of looking for a family online is that you and the family will be responsible for making all of the arrangements to get the adoption approved. And that as soon as you make a connection, the bonding process will begin.
Find another family if the one you’ve chosen doesn’t work out
However, if you feel that the family is putting undue pressure on you or not being straight about their intentions, you may decide that it’s better to find another couple online or even through an agency. With an agency, it would be responsible for guiding you through every step of the process and dealing with the adoptive parents on your behalf.
That said, there is no shortage of prospective parents online who would treat you with dignity and respect. And all of them would have no problem providing your child with a stable, loving and safe home to grow up in.
The key is to know what kind of family you’re looking for before you begin your search and then to narrow it down through emails, telephone calls, and eventually a meeting.
With each new step of the process your confidence will grow, and so will your chances of having a successful relationship with them in the years to come.
Learn more about our hopeful adoptive families.