One common question from those considering adoption is “How do we find a birth mother?”
The answer to this will depend on which route you take in your adoption pursuit. Two of the most common types of adoption are agency adoption and direct placement, also known as “private” or “independent” adoption.
If you choose to go through an agency, part of their job is to present your family to birth mothers. This is most often done in the form of a profile book. For more details on exactly what an adoption profile book is, and how to create a great one, you can check out this post. The adoption agency will show your book to birth mothers when your preferences are a good fit.
For example, if you have specifically stated that you wish to adopt a certain race, your profile will be shown to birth moms that fit that criterion. Sometimes, you may know that your profile is being shown and other times you may not. In most cases, it will be shown multiple times before a birth mother chooses to meet you.
Just remember that since the birth mother ultimately chooses her baby’s adoptive family, it can take some time for the agency to find a match for your family. Once a birth mom lets the agency know she is interested in a particular family, a “meet and greet” may be set up, in the case of open adoption. If your desire is to adopt more quickly, being open to preferences such as various races, gender, age, openness, medical history, as well as sometimes substance abuse may help increase your exposure to more birth mothers.
In direct placement adoption or private/independent adoption, a birth mother chooses the adoptive parents and places the child directly with them. Initial contact is made directly between a pregnant woman and prospective adoptive parents and/or through the use of an attorney.
You may have seen couples in the past that set up a website to find potential birth parents on their own. That is also an option as well as if you already know of a birth mom planning to choose adoption. If you already know a birth mother, you may wish to work with an adoption attorney to finalize the adoption. Whether you know a birth mother already or find one independently, you may still work with an adoption agency on your home-study which is required for adoption. In addition, an agency can often help with things like screening, support, and correspondence after the adoption.
Regardless of how you find a birth mother, the important thing is that you find the right match for the situation you are seeking.
I know that it can often help to hear from someone that has already experienced what you may be about to embark on so I’ll share a little about our adoptions.
Adoption 1: Agency Placement
Both of our adoptions were domestic infant adoptions. Our first adoption was through an agency. This means that the agency did virtually all the work and the placement was arranged through them. What this looked like practically was that we sat back and let the agency do their job. We made a profile book and they presented our book to birth moms when appropriate. They let us know a time or two that our book was being shown. I’m pretty sure it as shown more than the times they told us. They let us know they may not always mention it when our profile was shown. In a way, this was good because it kept us from getting our hopes up if we were not selected.
Once a birth mom did ask to meet us, we got the call! I’ll never forget that day! Baby girl was already born and her birth mom wanted to meet us in a couple of days! We met her and brought our sweet Abigail home a week later! Although it often feels like adoption takes forever, many times things can suddenly speed up in the end.
Adoption 2: Direct Placement
Our second adoption was through a “parental or direct placement” because a birth parent was already identified. In Abigail’s case, the agency did the work to present us to birth parents until one chose us. With Bennett (pictured below), his birth mom (also Abigail’s birth mom) reached out directly to us and asked us to adopt. An agency performed our home study, which is a requirement. And, we hired an adoption attorney to do the rest.
In this case, there were a lot more “roller coaster” emotions than with our agency placement. The main reason was that the agency was not there to help shield us. For example, when our children’s birth mom dropped contact, most likely to process the decision she was making, we felt a bit lost. There were times we wondered if she had changed her mind. We just had to wait until she reached back out. That was hard.
If we had been working with the agency directly on this adoption, they would most likely have been the ones coordinating the communication. In that case, we may not have even noticed the lack of communication. In the end, she contacted us and was still completely on board with adoption. But, not knowing at times was hard. For more on what that experience was like check out this guest post from my husband.
Again, these are our experiences and your adoption journey may look very different. In the end, it is my belief that is you trust God throughout your adoption process and let him lead the way, you will end up with the child (or children), that is meant to be yours.