Listening is so important in any relationship, and especially when first meeting a birth mother. Many adoptive parents are so nervous during that first phone call that they chatter on and on. As a result, they never get to know the person on the other end of the phone. Today, we’re sharing simple tips on listening to birth mothers!
Humans can think about lots of things at once, and many of us do just that. This is a real issue if it’s done while speaking with a birth mother. It may feel natural to plan what you’ll say next when someone is speaking to you. But if you’re focused on what you’ll say next, then you’re not concentrating on a birth mother and her needs.
If you don’t truly listen to a birth mother, it may cost you the opportunity to adopt her child. Our Founder Mardie Caldwell shares, “I’ve seen several adoptive couples lose the opportunity in their first conversation by talking too much about themselves or drilling the birth mother with questions.”
Here are our 4 simple tips on how to effectively listen to birth mothers:
1. Really listen, and don’t interrupt her. Let the birth mother finish her sentence before you jump in. You can instead jot down a note that says what you wanted to say, and ask once she’s done talking.
2. Ask questions about the birth mother and her life, and be interested. Never judge her or preach to her. Ask if she’d like to know more about you, and then go ahead.
3. Give her a sign that you acknowledge, understand, and hear what she is saying.
5. Repeat or “mirror” what you heard her saying, in her words. Doing so makes sure she knows you got it.
Developing a healthy relationship with a birth mother isn’t a chess game. Plotting your next move while she’s talking is counterproductive.
Practice these tips the next time you have a conversation at work or with a friend. It might feel weird and uncomfortable at first. However, you’ll see that people respond well to you. When you talk to a birth mother, you’ll have listening experience and will increase your chances of a match!