There are many times when hopeful adoptive parents aren’t completely sure how to best navigate their relationship with the expectant mom or birthparents. Specifically: how as hopeful adoptive parents can we support the expectant mom or birthmom/parents, especially if we do not live close to each other.
As a birthmother, I have had the opportunity to get a unique perspective and first-hand experience with many things related to open adoption. I matched with an adoptive family who lived several states away in July but wasn’t due until October. Let’s be honest, after you match, but before placement takes place, you are in the limbo of adoption. Everyone is just starting to get to know each other, and really feeling out how to navigate this new relationship. The road is rocky, and both parties are nervous they might do something wrong. After matching, work on simply getting to know each other. Ask questions, not just about the pregnancy, but get to know them for who they are. For many, the relationship before placing is the groundwork for a lifelong relationship. Build trust.
After getting to a comfortable place, start to build the relationship further. Dig deeper! Adoptive parents and expectant birthmothers/birthparents: ask the other party what they want! Be honest. Upfront. Don't sugar coat just to keep the status quo. Relationships can't build until you start having depth! Ask how you can support the expectant mom. Every expectant mom/ birthmom/birthparent is different. Simply because one thing worked for one adoptive family, does not mean that it will work for another. The best way to support one specific expectant mom/birthmom/birthparent is by listening to what they say they want or would like to see happen. Respect what they say, and work towards it. Being able to communicate effectively with each other is so important. Open, honest communication and support leads to an open and honest adoption relationship!
(To be clear: some expectant moms or birthmoms/parents may not want a lot of communication, they may have support from others and do not wish to have contact with the adoptive parents. If this is the case, if or when you do communicate, make sure to have open and honest communication. When or if you are talking, check in on their feelings as well; they may not feel the same as they did several weeks or months ago regarding how they can be best supported. Things change. Feelings change.)
Guest Blogger: Jessica
Birthmother and blogger