If you want an open adoption, if you want to watch your child develop—pay attention.
As you look for an adoptive family, take a little extra time to find a family that will allow you to be part of your child’s life—in whatever form you choose.
At Heart to Heart, we help you screen families that will offer you the openness you want. If you are looking at families or are working with another agency, consider the following.
Before the placement, most potential adoptive parents may declare their desire for openness, including emails, visits, pictures, and phone calls.
After the adoption, some families may change their minds.
Here are a few warning signs that suggest the couple may reconsider.
The adoption profile and conversations revolve around the baby, never around you.
If the adoptive family’s profile only talks about the baby and not about any of your needs, this is a warning sign.
Of course, the family may not know you at the time and not know what to say. If, however, upon meeting you, there is still a lack of concern for you, then this could be a red flag that they aren’t prepared to help you keep in touch.
Have a dialogue with the prospective parents and what their true intentions are. Ask them outright how they expect you to fit into their lives after the adoption.
The family is hesitant to meet with you.
Talking is the only way to understand one another. You will want parents who are interested in you now and interested in you after the baby is born.
There are potential parents out there who are scared to fall in love with you and then get their hearts broken if you choose to parent. So see this hesitation as a potential red flag.
They may be worried that they’ll fall in love with you and then get their hearts broken if you change your mind. Then again, it may mean that they don’t see you as an individual in your own right but simply as a means to an end.
Tell them you would like the relationship to work out and that getting together before the placement is crucial to you. If they continue to show no desire to a meeting, move on.
A family with no boundaries.
All relationships have to have boundaries. If a family is willing to give you everything you ask for, then maybe they haven’t thought this through.
If you discover that they concur with everything you ask for and continually compromise on their standards and beliefs, you may ask yourself why. Are they compromising because they respect and have confidence in you, and you’re completely compatible? Or are they in agreement because they are so eager to find a baby that they are willing to do anything you ask for?
It’s always good to give the couple the benefit of the doubt. Their lack of ability to say no to you could be pre-adoption fears.
It’s probably best to have a face-to-face conversation before either of you is too emotionally involved.
Refusing to work with an adoption agency.
Couples who work with an agency are required to take classes. These learning opportunities teach the benefits of maintaining a solid relationship with you after the adoption.
Of course, good relationships are individual, not necessarily on the training. So, remember that training has its advantages, but that shouldn’t be the only factor you look at while choosing a family.
The most crucial thing going into the placement is that you must feel calm with your choices. You should feel comfortable being around the potential adoptive family. They should have values that are similar to you, and you should all have realistic expectations.