Dear Mardie, A potential birth mother called us! I used the forms included in the Birth Mothers: Meeting and Matching lesson, and have another call scheduled next week, after she receives our long version profile in the mail. I have answers to almost all the questions on the forms. What do I ask her now? What is the next step?
This is an exciting time! Remember that it only takes one birth mother to complete an adoption. Some families talk to many, others just to one. I am excited for you!
The next step is generally just to continue the conversation until you know each other a little more and can make a decision if this is someone you are interested in matching with, or if it is an opportunity that is not what you are seeking. It is important to not interrogate her about the pregnancy. Take time to get to know her, to answer questions about yourselves, even the uncomfortable ones. If you know right away that this is not a match for you, you may choose not to continue the conversation but to move forward quickly with the next step.
When you have a decision, collect the information on the forms provided and complete the Birth Parent Evaluation Form and send them to your coordinator, indicating if you would like to match with her or if you would not like to match with her.
If she isn’t a match for you, your coordinator will contact her to let her know of your decision in a gentle way, while providing help and resources to find a family that better suits her needs. It is important to let your coordinator handle this so that the birth mother does not feel that she or her child is not good enough. She can do it from a neutral third party perspective and can offer things like counseling and other needed resources to get her the help she needs quickly.
If she is a match for you, your coordinator will review the information you have gathered and provided, as well as checking with numerous databases, some available only to adoption professionals, to see if this is someone who has been flagged as a scam. She will also provide information for you to pursue and the next steps to take.
Typically, these will include contacting a lawyer and exploring the options available to you. Remember that your coordinator can provide attorney referrals nationwide. Depending on her due date, you may consider meeting in person if she isn’t more than a day’s drive away, or including video chat (like Skype or Facetime) to get to know each other more.
The initial conversations are a ‘getting to know you’ phase, and should be explored as such. Every adoption situation involves some risk and optimism, so remember to hold back a little piece of your heart, even when it sounds like the perfect situation.