And, as part of the process, that includes asking them questions.
As great as that sounds, it’s not easy.
You don’t want to pick any old family to raise your child — you want to pick the right one.
So how do you do it? Is there something you can do now, before the adoption, to help you make a decision?
For starters, you can look online at the hopeful adoptive parents’ adoption letter. It tells their story in words and pictures.
In it, you can find out all kinds of things about them: how long they’ve been married, what they like to do for fun, about their families and their home, their thoughts about parenting and open adoption, and how to get in touch with them.
While it’s a good start, it’s not definitive. At about 1,000 to 1,500 words, an adoption letter just skims the surface and gives a limited glimpse into the hopeful adoptive parents’ lives.
Plus, since it’s an outreach tool created by the adoptive parents themselves, it’s pretty subjective. There may be things they didn’t put in or chose to leave out that may be of interest to you.
Asking The Right Questions Now Can Increase The Chances Of Having A Successful Adoption Relationship Later
For instance, if religion is important to you, you may want to ask them about their beliefs and how they plan to incorporate them into your child’s upbringing.
Or if race is a consideration, you may want to ask them about their thoughts about raising a child of a different color and about the diversity of their neighborhood.
Or if you’re looking for a family that values education, you may want to ask them about their plans for school and their own educational background.
Or if openness is important for you, you may want to ask them how they intend to keep in touch with you after the placement, how often, and through what means.
These are all good questions. And ideally, you should ask them now, before you get too deeply involved with them.
And you can. As part of the open adoption process, you not only get to choose parents for your baby, you also have the option to speak and meet with them.
So take advantage of the opportunity and don’t be afraid to ask them whatever you need to know — by email, phone or face-to-face. Below are some suggested questions.
Some of the topics may have already been touched on in the hopeful adoptive parents’ letter, but it never hurts to hear the answers directly from the source.
A quick note: Single people also send out adoption profiles. But since the majority of applicants are couples, that’s how these questions have been worded.
About Their Relationship
- Tell me about yourself…
- How long have you been together?
- How did you meet?
- What was it about your partner that made you fall in love with him/her?
- Have either of you been married before or have children from a previous marriage?
- When did you first decide you wanted to to start a family?
- Why do you want to become parents?
- What’s the secret of your relationship?
- What do you like best (and least) about your partner?
- How often do you have disagreements and how do you work them out?
About Their Interests and Background
- How would you describe yourself?
- How would you describe your partner?
- What kinds of things do you like to do, individually and together?
- What’s the one thing you want people to know about you?
- What’s do you like most (and least) about yourself?
About Their family
- What kind of relationship do you have with your immediate family?
- Who are you closest to, and why?
- Do you have any adoption connections in your family?
- Do any of your siblings have children?
- How does your family feel about your plans to adopt?
- How have you explained adoption to them?
- How would you explain me to them?
About Their Home and Neighborhood
- Describe your home to me…
- How long have you lived there?
- What do you like (or don’t like) about it?
- Do you have any pets?
- What’s your neighborhood like?
- Are there a lot of children nearby?
- Are there any adopted children?
- What kind of things are there in the neighborhood for children to see and do?
About Their Lives and Work
- What’s a typical day like for you?
- What do you do for a living?
- Do you like your job, and if so, what do you like about it?
- What’s your schedule like?
- How do you usually spend your weekends?
About Their Religion and Values
- How important is religion to you?
- Are there any religious events, customs or traditional that you take part in?
- What kind of value system do you hope to pass down to your child?
- What do you plan to do if down the road your child shows ( or doesn’t show) an interest in religion, or in a different religion from you?
- Do you have other children, and if so, are they biological or adopted?
- If they’re adopted, what kind of relationship do they have with their parents?
- How would you describe your parenting style?
- What kind of discipline techniques do you use?
- What do you think makes a good parent?
- As a parent, what do you like best (and worst) about parenting?
- What’s been the biggest challenge?
- What do you think makes a happy, well-balanced child?
- What kind of child care plans do you have, immediately after the baby comes home and afterwards?
- Will one of you be staying home?
- What are your education plans for your child?
- What if your child isn’t interested in education?
About Open Adoption
- Why are you adopting?
- What made you choose open adoption?
- How much do you know about open adoption?
- How much do you know about raising an adopted child?
- What does open adoption mean to you?
- When do you plan to tell your child that he/she is adopted?
- How do you plan to explain it to him?
- Do you plan to have other children?
- What are your hopes and dreams for your child?
About Their Relationship With You
- I know you don’t know very much about me, but what kind of relationship would you like to have?
- How comfortable are you with having someone like me in your life?
- How do you plan to keep in touch?
- Are you open to visits?
- How open are you to having other members of my family being involved in your child’s life?
- What if my child’s father wants to/doesn’t want to be part of this relationship, are you ok with that?
- How do you plan to refer to me to your child and to other members of your family?
As someone who is looking for adoptive parents for your baby, you probably have countless questions about the family you’ve chosen and their plans for the future. Now is the time to ask them, not after the adoption. Through their answers, you’ll not only get a chance to dig deeper into their lives and get to know them. You’ll also get a better sense of whether they are the right adoptive parents for you and your baby.
Learn more about our hopeful adoptive parents.