So often on Lifetime’s blog, we provide suggestions about what to do during the adoption process. Since there are plenty of opportunities for hitches along the way, we’re going to share three habits to avoid during your adoption wait, as well as things to be aware of.
The adoption tips we provide today might seem like common sense, but they come from our years of experience serving adoptive couples and birth parents. All of the situations we describe here are ones we’ve experienced firsthand.
Lifetime shares this info so that you can become equipped and prepared with specific information on what not to do. After becoming acquainted with habits to avoid, you’ll be able to focus on taking the right steps so that you can have a safe and successful adoption!
Here are 3 habits to stop doing now if you want to adopt successfully:
1. Sounding Entitled or Desperate
Many couples turn to adoption because they have fertility issues or have experienced a miscarriage. But we advise you to avoid phrases like, “I deserve to be a parent.” It can make you sound entitled and desperate to a birth mother.
Without being aware of it, some waiting adoptive couples choose words that sound as if their happiness depends on the birth mother. For example, saying something like, “my life won’t be full until I have a child.” Statements like this really put a lot of pressure on a birth mother!
We understand that you might feel like your family isn’t complete yet. However, the best way to go about your adoption journey isn’t to put that pressure on birth parents. A birth mother chooses adoption to provide her child with the best possible life that she can. It’s not a decision made lightly; it’s usually made during a crisis, after lots of soul-searching. So she shouldn’t have to take on the additional pressure of completing your life’s dream.
It’s vital that you remain positive during your adoption journey. Many waiting adoptive couples find that they need someone to vent to during stressful times so that they can stay positive. This person could be your spouse, a family member, someone from your circle of friends, or a trusted friend from church.
Several adoptive couples have found that writing in a journal is a helpful tool for venting their emotions surrounding the wait. And prayer can be a great way to give your worries to the Lord. Seeking a counselor to speak with has proved necessary for some adoptive couples. In order to become the best parent you can, you’ll need to begin by taking care of yourself. This means getting enough sleep, eating healthy foods, and exercising regularly.
Your adoption will be representative of your attitude during your adoption journey. So we recommend avoiding the temptation to complain to a birth parent about a previous adoption loss, your infertility issues, or the adoption process in general.
Your adoption professional wants to help you remain productive as you move toward adopting. However, several factors are outside of their control when you’re waiting to be chosen by a birth mother. If you heed all of the guidance provided by your adoption professional, then you’re doing everything you can to adopt successfully. So long as you’re continuing to follow the necessary steps, it’s simply a matter of time before your adoption takes place!
3. Making Assumptions
Finally, Lifetime wants to caution you to avoid assuming anything about a birth mother or her situation. Many people believe that every birth mother is a teenager who made a mistake with her boyfriend or a drug addict who lives on the street. The typical birth mother today doesn’t fit into either of these stereotypes. Not all birth mothers are homeless, young, single, battered, dropouts, or drug users. They’re women who are trying to make the best decision they can for their child.
You want to make sure that you’re not passing judgment on her baby based on the circumstances of her lifestyle. If you can believe it, Lifetime has worked with couples who passed up an adoption opportunity because they didn’t like the tone of the birth mother’s voice when they talked! It’s important that you don’t judge her choices or how she lives her life. These women aren’t coming from perfect situations, or else they wouldn’t be thinking about adoption. They wouldn’t be thinking about choosing you as adoptive parents.
Lifetime Adoption Agency also wants to advise you against assuming that the adoption decision is a negative one for the birth mother. Please avoid making statements or writing things like, “I imagine you’ve been through something awful to have to choose adoption” or “I know this must be a terrible decision for you to make.” The fact is, good moms choose adoption. Moms who love their children very much choose adoption. A birth mother is making a positive decision, at her cost, for the sake of her child. So there’s no need to recognize a negative situation because it might not be what she’s feeling.
Editor’s Note: This article was originally published on February 2, 2020, and has since been updated.
Linda Rotz, CWCM-S, CWCM-Trainer, ACC, is the Director of Adoption Services at Lifetime. Linda has worked in the field of adoption for 20 years within the child welfare/foster care system in Florida. She has degrees in Mass Communications and Human Development, and completed graduate studies in social work.
Due to her extensive expertise, Linda was called upon to write adoption procedures and training materials in Florida. She is certified as an Adoption Specialist, Child Welfare Case Manager Supervisor and Child Welfare Trainer in the state of Florida.