The ability to listen is vital in any relationship. This is especially true when speaking with a birth mother. You may be nervous upon beginning this relationship, which may cause you to talk more than usual. Our thoughts move much faster than our words. We find ourselves thinking about what we are going to say next, rather than focusing on the other person. This can be very disheartening to a birth mother who needs to be heard. In this article, we offer tips and advice for truly listening to birth parents.
Some prospective adoptive couples overwhelm the birth mother with information and questions. Don’t spend this valuable time bombarding her with information about yourself. Also, you shouldn’t ask her sensitive questions at the start of this new relationship. Allow her to guide the conversation.
If your first conversation is over the phone, avoid speaker mode during this initial communication. For future conversations, always ask her permission before placing the call on speaker mode. This is a common courtesy that you should use for any phone call that might be personal.
You should also avoid allowing your spouse or partner to listen on another phone extension without the birth mother’s knowledge. This comes across as deceptive and does not foster trust.
Tips to Be a Great Listener
Make Eye Contact
When you meet in person, look at the birth mother when she speaks. Don’t allow your eyes to wander around the room. If you are on the phone, don’t attempt to multitask. You want her to know this conversation is important enough for you to set aside time for it.
Don’t interrupt her when she’s speaking. Allow her to complete her thoughts and sentences. Wait for a break in her speech to interject your thoughts. If something comes to mind while she is talking, write it down so you don’t forget, and you can address it later.
Refrain From Passing Judgment
It’s fine to ask questions about her and her life, but do not drill her or pass judgment. It’s very important to keep an open mind and heart during these communications. She is likely facing her shame and guilt over the situation. You can be a voice of support and appreciation, rather than piling more judgment on her.
Let her know you are listening and understand by nodding or giving verbal cues. You can also mirror or repeat what she said back to her in your own words, so she knows you understand. For instance, if she says, “I grew up with a single mom, and I want my baby to have two parents. So, I want to make sure the couple I choose has a strong relationship.” You can say something like, “Being raised by a single parent is not ideal. I see why you want a two-parent home for your baby. Would you like to know more about my relationship with my spouse?”
Practice these listening tips with people in your life, and their responses might surprise you.
For more information and assistance with adopting a child in Florida, contact our licensed adoption professionals at (727) 202-8966.
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.