Open Adoption: How Birthparents Choose a Family for Their Baby

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The pain of giving up a child for adoption can be lessened with open adoption. In open adoption, the birth mother can interview prospective parents and decide who the birth parents will be. The birth parent can be just a single mother or it can include the father in the decision-making. Either way, their one concern is that the baby be placed in an adoptive home where it will be well cared for and have the best chances for its future.

The tools birth parents use to evaluate prospective adoptive parents:

  • Resume
  • Photos
  • Phone Call
  • Interview

The Resume

Unlike a job resume the adoptive resume consists less of vital statistics and more of the personal attributes and view of life of the adoptive parents. In it there should be a letter, which should begin “Dear Birth Mother” and indicate why the parents are seeking adoption and their views on open adoption. It should include personal information like the type of neighborhood, hobbies, relatives, education and home life. This gives the birth mother a good idea of how committed the family is to adoption and what types of resources her child will have growing up.

Photos

As corny as the old adage is, a picture is still worth a thousand words. Close-up photos of the birth parent are important, but so too are the pictures of siblings, pets, household, neighborhood, and special occasions. Here a prospective adoptive couple can get very creative in conveying just how wonderful their life is and how they have much to offer an adopted child. The birth mother will want to be able to picture her child in the happy, loving home of its adoptive parents.

Phone Call

Before a face-to-face interview is scheduled, often a phone call is set up by the adoption agency or lawyer. This is usually a conference call and questions are sometimes scripted so that all prospective adoptive parents get the same questions. If the birth mother feels there is a potential match, she can request an interview.

Interview

The birth parent interview with the prospective parents may be held at a restaurant with the prospective parents understanding they are to pay for the meal. The counselor helping the adoption process will most likely also be there. This is the time when birth parents can assess if the family is a really good match with more in-depth questions than what were given in the phone interview.

After this entire process, there are a variety of factors a birth mother will evaluate in choosing the new parents. Many focus on education, religion, and the stability of the home. They prefer to know that their child will have a good chance at being well-educated and that the family doesn’t move around too often and the marriage is sound. She will be anxious to know their views on open adoption and how much contact they will allow her after the adoption takes place.

The deciding factor in all these communications can end up being the fact that birth parents are musically inclined, like the birth mother, or have hobbies and skills that the birth mother appreciates. It’s hard to tell what will swing the vote, but mostly both adoptive parents and birth mother can tell upon the interview if they are a good match without hesitation.

Another set of factors may be the cultural heritage of the couple or their expressed religious faith. If it closely matches the birth mother’s values, the birth mother will know her child is being raised in a similar environment to her own. Language barriers may also be a reason why a birth mother chooses close to her own culture, plus the understanding that the child will have good roots in a family that can support it, but also roots in its ethnicity and people.

There are many ways a birth parent chooses the family for her baby. It is a long and involved process but one that can bring a sense of peace to the birth mother and the joy of a new child to adoptive couples. Establishing good, honest communication during the adoption process between the birth parent and the adoptive parents is a skill they will need to continue on with a process that can last a lifetime.

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