Choosing the right adoptive family for your newborn can be overwhelming. What should you consider? Where can you find the families? How do you know they are the right fit for your baby? Friends in Adoption is here to help guide you through the process of adoption and choosing a family you feel comfortable with. We are proud to be a part of your adoption journey.
Below, Friends in Adoption walks through a step-by-step process for choosing the right adoptive family for you and your baby. We will go through each step in detail, exploring areas and questions to consider. If you have any further questions, Friends in Adoption is happy to help.
Step 1: Create an Adoption Plan
The first step is feeling that adoption is the right option for you and your baby. This choice can be incredibly difficult and we honor your strength. You are providing your baby with a life you dream for them, full of love and laughter. If adoption is the right choice for you and your newborn, Friends in Adoption is proud to support you as a birth parent through our experienced team. Hear about Alison, a birth mother who placed her baby with an adoptive family and her journey. Creating an adoption plan establishes adoption for your newborn, your needs throughout the process, and plans for future relationships with the adoptive family and child.
Step #2: Consider the Level of Openness for Your Adoption
This is one of the most important aspects to consider when you’re searching for the right adoptive family for your baby. Choosing a level of openness in adoption is all about what you are comfortable with regarding contact with your baby and the adoptive family.
There are several adoption options.
- Open Adoption → Your baby will know they were adopted from the beginning; open communication with forms determined by you and the adoptive parents (letters, phone calls, emails, visits, gifts to the child, photos, social media interactions, texts, etc). It also means open and encouraged communication with the adoptive parent/family as agreed upon. Open adoptions allow children to have a better understanding of how they came to be adopted and ask questions about their family background.
- Semi- Closed Adoption → In this adoption option you will work with our dedicated adoption team to figure out what level of contact/contact options you are comfortable with. This often means removing identifiable information from contact, like addresses from letters sent at determined frequencies or visits in neutral locations. Semi-closed adoption also involves select forms and levels of communication with the adoptive family as agreed upon. Read more about the difference between open and semi-closed adoption to see what is right for you.
- Closed Adoption → This type of adoption means limited to no contact with the adoptive family or child. Friends in Adoption strongly respects the birth parents’ wishes regarding post-adoption contact with the adoptive family. If you happen to change your mind later on and would like to start developing an open or semi-closed adoption, FIA will be able to send you yearly letters and pictures about your child. Regardless of the option you choose, FIA will be here for you with continuous support throughout the years.
Establishing your boundaries surrounding communication means finding an adoptive family who will meet your needs in the adoption process.
Step #3: Determine What Traits and Qualities Are Important to You in an Adoptive Family
This step helps determine the environment you want your baby to experience. By considering all these factors, you can ensure that your adoptive family is the right fit for the life you dream of for your baby. Your FIA adoption team can be extremely helpful with this process, guiding you through the traits that are most important to you. The main topics to consider are listed below!
- General considerations
- Is there an income level you would prefer/that you’re comfortable with?
- Do you want the adoptive family to have certain educational backgrounds or careers?
- What type of housing are you comfortable with your child living in- an apartment, condo, house, etc?
- Family structure & dynamics
- Do you want the adoptive family to be close knit, or give each other more space?
- Do you want them to have siblings? If so, should they also be adopted, or biological? Do the adoptive parents hope to have any other children in the future?
- Do you wish your baby to have a large extended family, or a small one with close friends?
- Do you want them to have pets?
- Are you comfortable with a couple in the LGBTQ+ community?
- Do you want the adoptive parents to be married? Together for a long time or engaged? Or is a single parent okay?
- Where do you want your baby to grow up- the countryside, the city, or the suburbs?
- Do you want a family that is in the same state or city as you?
- Are you okay with running into the family if they are out and about?
- Should the family be more settled in an area, or open to moving around?
- Do you want to know where your baby will be living?
- Do you want your baby to resemble their adoptive family?
- Does culture or religion play a role for you? Do you want an adoptive family of a certain faith or cultural background?
- Do you want your baby’s heritage to be shared with them?
- Do you want your baby with a family who travels frequently/to experience family vacations?
- What hobbies or interests do you want your baby exposed to while growing up? Music? Sports? The arts?
- Do you want the adoptive family to be active in the community? In the military?
All of the above can be important categories to consider when choosing an adoptive family. This can be helpful in narrowing down prospective adoptive families, especially when you’re feeling overwhelmed. Your dedicated FIA adoption team can help you navigate this information and narrow down what is important to you in an adoptive family.
Step #4: Look Through Adoptive Family Profiles
Your FIA adoption specialist can help narrow down your options for adoptive families. They will take the traits and qualities you are looking for, and find families that fit those criteria. It can limit the feeling of being overwhelmed by too many profiles.
An adoptive family profile typically includes a few pieces of information including:
- General location
- Reasons they want to adopt a baby
- Hobbies and interests
- What they feel they can offer as adoptive parents
- Fun facts about their favorite things
- Description about their extended family and friends
- Career information
- Descriptions of their home, community, and neighborhood
Friends in Adoption offers profiles online of waiting adoptive families for pregnant women/couples considering adoption to review. Take your time with this step. Select families you feel that you connect with, and that fit what you dream of for your baby. There is no wrong answer here. Your FIA adoption team can also help guide you through reading profiles to narrow down to your top choices.
Step #5: Contact Top Families
After you’ve selected a few top families, you can contact your assigned team member at Friends in Adoption. By now, you will probably already have a good on-going relationship with your representative. She will connect you with the families you are interested in learning more about. You will be able to plan a time to talk to each of them, via email, texting, phone call, or even Skype. Or, if you prefer, this can be done anonymously through your FIA adoption specialist. This step helps you find the right fit for your newborn.
If you want to meet the potential adoptive families, your FIA team member can help arrange this meeting. These meetings can sometimes be in-person meetings, but with the technology nowadays these meetings more frequently happen via Skype, Zoom, or Facetime. Your FIA team member or a social worker can also be present to help smooth over any awkwardness during the meeting.
When you communicate with potential adoptive families, there are certain things to keep in mind. Be sure to ask them why they are choosing adoption, their intended parenting style, their hobbies/interests, their cultural/religious values (if that holds significance for you), and what they are looking for regarding level of openness. Be sure to share your adoption plan, including the type of adoption you are pursuing.
After this meeting, consider one main thing- did you feel comfortable? This can answer many questions that might be spiraling around in your mind. If you were comfortable, they might fit what you’re looking for in values and interests. If you were comfortable with their answers, you know you are on the same page regarding level of openness and their intended parenting style.
Step #6: Take Your Time- Finally Choosing a Family
This is the most important step of all. Choosing an adoptive family for your newborn is a big decision. It is, ultimately and completely your choice. Don’t rush the decision, and don’t allow others to rush you.
Take your top families that you contacted and felt comfortable with. Consider their family structure, their location, their interests/hobbies, and their lifestyle. Which fits the dream you see for your baby? If you’re not sure of any of them, go back and talk with your dedicated FIA adoption team. They might have other family options or further information about the families for you.
Again- don’t rush this decision. Whatever decision you make will be the right decision for your baby. You are giving them the love and support you dream of for them. Trust your head and your heart. If a family is the right fit, the two will align. Friends in Adoption is more than happy to help with this decision, discussing the different options or exploring other families (if need be).
Step #7: Communicate Your Choice & Adoption Plan
Once you’ve made your decision, communicate your choice with your adoption agency. Your FIA team member will make sure the official forms are completed. Your adoption plan will be shared with the family or individual. Make sure to share the hospital stay portion of your adoption plan. This will inform if they are present in the delivery room or hospital when you give birth, if you spend one-on-one time with your child before they meet the baby, or if you will name the baby.
Choosing the right adoptive family can feel extremely overwhelming, just know Friends in Adoption is here to help you every step of the way. Friends in Adoption has a detailed pre-approval and education process for all adoptive families. This helps to ensure that your brave and courageous choice will lead to the life you envision for your baby- a life full of love and support.
Not sure where to start? Still considering if adoption is the right option for you? Contact Friends in Adoption now and we’ll help you with each step of the adoption process.