Your first conversation with a birth parent can be an anxiety-inducing situation. Whether you are speaking over the phone or in person, it’s helpful to know the do’s and don’ts. Below are some tips to help you make the most of this important interaction with a birth mother.
Understanding the Birth Mother’s Thoughts
Many birth parents share common fears. You are not the only one nervous about this conversation. It’s helpful to understand how she might be feeling. Some of the common fearful thoughts birth parents have about this interaction are:
- The adoptive family is smarter than me, so I might say something stupid.
- They will think I’m unattractive.
- They will think I am sexually promiscuous.
- They will think I am on drugs
- We won’t like each other.
- They might be abusive.
- They don’t care about me; they just want my baby
It’s important to remember that the stress of this interaction goes both ways. Because you want a child so intensely, it may be difficult for you to understand how and why she is willing to place her child for adoption. You may assume that birth mothers are cold, unkind people. This would be entirely untrue, and it’s crucial that you have an open mind.
Be Prepared to Talk About Yourself
This initial call is for both the adoptive family and birth mom to get to know each other. It is not an interview. Be prepared to give her a snapshot of your lives and potentially the life of her baby.
Don’t Claim the Baby
Never use words that place ownership when referencing baby. This is a respect that you are able to give to the birth mom.
Don’t assume you understand her or why she has come to this decision. Birth moms deserve respect right from the get-go. Often times, they can sense if you have come with preconceived stereotypes.
Ask Sensitive Questions Later
You don’t want to overwhelm her with prying questions at the beginning of the conversation. You will want to defer these questions to your social worker, attorney or adoption professionals.
Consider Your Phrasing
Don’t word questions in a way that implies a correct answer. For instance, “You are not married, right?” This implies that you expect her to be unmarried.
Allow the birth mother time to answer your questions. Don’t attempt to answer for her or rush her.
Don’t Push for Answers
If she avoids answering a question, simply move on. You can try revisiting it later by rewording it. If she still doesn’t answer, just let it go for now.
Remember That Not All People Are Emotional
Some people simply aren’t open, sharing individuals. You may want the birth mother to be very conversational and emotional, but this may not be the case.
The Final Question
At the end of your conversation, ask her if there is anything important she thinks you should know. This often reveals vital information.
Good Questions to Ask a Birth Mother
It is always a good idea to ask your adoption specialist a list of good questions. Each birth mom is different and will have different life situations, personality and hot buttons. The goal of this call is for the birth mom and adoptive family to get to know each other. This first call is an important opportunity to show the birth mom that you care about her and not just the baby.
- What do you like to do in your down time?
- Do you have pets?
- How are you feeling?
- Are there any questions you have for us?
Questions You Should Not Ask
Some questions must be avoided. It is important that the questions below and other concerns you may have are directed to your adoption specialist or attorney.
- Are you sure about adoption? Are you going to change your mind?
- How many times have you been pregnant?
- Have you been using drugs during the pregnancy?
- Did the baby’s father refuse marriage?
- Were you raped?
- How many different men could be the father?
Your first discussion with the birth parent is obviously very important. After all, she could be the mother of your child. You want to handle this interaction delicately. This initial meeting or call should be facilitated by your adoption specialist, attorney or social worker. You should not do it alone. Your adoption specialist can offer you support and guidance to help you and the birth mother receive the most value from this conversation. At Destiny Adoption, we feel strongly that both the birth mom and the adoptive family have a support person. The adoption journey is inevitably full of bumps. Having a professional to help you navigate will make all the difference for the birth mom and adoptive family. Contact Destiny Adoption today for more information and assistance.
Author: Destiny Adoption Services
Destiny Adoption Services is proud to support and guide birth parents and adoptive families on the journey of adoption. We’re a state licensed nonprofit adoption agency with four decades of adoption experience, and our professional team of experts includes moms, adoptive moms and birth mothers who provide compassion combined with trusted resources and skills.