Written by Vicki Colls, Director of Birth Mother Advocacy at Abiding Love Adoptions
How do you love an expectant mother well? It all starts in your heart.
The first thing any hopeful adoptive parent must address is their motives for adopting. Ask yourself a few questions:
Have you struggled with infertility?
Have you sought counseling to address and process your grief?
Why adoption? If your answer has anything to do with “saving a child,” what is your answer when it comes to the child’s birth mother?
When you hear birth mother, what image comes to your mind? Then examine that image and ask yourself can you love her, or is your first instinct to disconnect from her?
After honestly answering the questions, if you still believe adoption is the path you wish to pursue, the next step is ensuring your adoption is ethical.
Adoption Agency. The agency you are connected to should be licensed in the state where the expectant mother lives. The expectant mother should be living in her state. She should NEVER be flown to another state to have her baby. This is trafficking.
There is no such thing as a nationwide adoption agency. Every state has its own laws and requires a license. Therefore, the agency should produce a license from the state where the mother is, or they are operating illegally.
Personal Advocate. The expectant mother should have a personal advocate who only interacts with her, not you, the adoptive family. She should be able to regularly meet with her advocate face-to-face. You should be allowed to do a meeting with her and her advocate in person. The in-person meeting enables you to see if there is a relationship between the advocate and the expectant mother. If there is not, be very, very cautious.
Post Adoption Support. Ask about post-adoption care such as curriculum, groups, professional counseling, and how long it lasts. Evaluate the answers and seek tangible evidence that the things being spoken are happening. If there is no post-adoption care or if there is no proof it happens, be very, very cautious.
Openness. Understand the expectant mom has a right to know her child, and her child has a right to know her. To disconnect from her will cause harm to her, the child, and eventually you. Be prepared for the stages of grief she will face and keep your door open.
Honor Her. She is a mother and should be treated as one, forever. Although she is considering creating a plan, she has the right to change her mind and parent. The baby is not yours just because you have been chosen. The baby is not yours until revocation is over.
The hospital is her time. You have the rest of your life to be with the baby; she has 24-72 hours. Let her have her time. If she wants you to be there, go, but while you are there, be sensitive to breeze in and breeze out. Let her settle in her heart what is the best path for her baby. She has a right to a healthy hello and a healthy good-bye.
Remember, your happiest day is the WORST day of her life. The pain that rips through her heart as she lays down her wants and desires out of her love for her baby is like someone took their hand, ripped out her heart, stomped it, then shredded it into a million little pieces. Let her have her time!
Following these few steps, pre-placement has a tremendous impact on the expectant mom’s mental and emotional health. Remember, she is not a birth mother until revocation ends. Guard your heart and love her well; this could be one of your most challenging journeys.
The adoption process is not to be taken lightly.
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