Dear Mardie, Can you please write a blog post reminding people to use the forms and write things down? I think I lost a good potential birth mother. You see, after advertising and networking, we hadn’t had any legitimate nibbles until about two months ago when “Mary” contacted us via phone. She had seen our tear sheet at the laundromat and wanted to talk about the type of contact we were open to. We had a wonderful conversation and I didn’t write anything down, figuring that we only had ONE contact, so I would easily remember all she told me. We arranged to meet for lunch a week later.
In the meantime, we were contacted by three other potential birth mothers, two of which turned out to be scams after long text exchanges and Facebook messages. So on to my lunch with Mary, and I honestly had all of the situations jumbled up in my mind. I ended up asking her questions we had already discussed during our phone call. I tried to make it look like I just wanted to know more, but she mentioned a couple times “I thought we talked about that on the phone.” I feel like such a loser and left the lunch without the warm fuzzy feeling I had after our phone conversation. I hope I can repair the situation. I just don’t want any families to have to feel how I’m feeling. Now I understand why you say to write things down!
I couldn’t have said it better! I’m sorry for your situation but it explains so clearly the necessity to write down everything. It is so easy to think we can rely on our memories (or our text messages!) but the fact that your emotions and hopes are involved complicates things.
It is vital to write things down, which is why we have included so many forms and methods for you in the program. Here are the top three reasons to always record what has happened…
- Crosscheck Your Memory
Face it, you are emotionally involved in the outcome. Writing down everything is a valuable asset that will help your memory be stronger. We all think we can remember everything, but we can’t, especially when emotion is part of the experience. Writing down reinforces our memories and keeps us accountable to be honest in the situation. If you wrote down “She had slurred speech, was she drinking?”, you can’t forget that when every other conversation has sounded spot on. Your memory won’t gloss over that because you have it in writing, something that your hopeful thoughts can’t make you forget.
- They Will Run Together
If you are approached by more than one potential birth parent, you will confuse the facts. I know, your mind says you won’t, but you will. And then, when your attorney asks you a question, your memory will not be clear on which woman said what. It’s better to have documentation of the facts, both for now and the future. Even if you think someone is a scam, write it down! More than once I believed a situation was not real or too good to be true, but it turned out to be legitimate! If I hadn’t kept a record, I wouldn’t have had those vital facts from early on.
- Facts Matter
When we help you evaluate a situation, the facts are vital. And the more accurate, the better! It is so much easier for our team to look at the dates, the statements, and the facts you have gathered and give an opinion. Just sharing what you remember isn’t fact, it is simply sharing what you remember. Keeping these records are also helpful when you measure your success – say you want to evaluate the success of how potential birth parents are finding them. If you don’t ask and write it down, you can’t measure it. Those are facts that matter.
Similarly, when a birth mother places her baby with you tells you some facts about her family, those are part of your child’s story. Maybe she casually mentions someone in her family had breast cancer or her mother’s sister was a redhead. Those are facts that you can share with your child when it matters…. When your child needs health information after a mammogram scare or has a daughter of her own that is a redhead. These small, little facts matter.
If you haven’t been keeping notes, recommit yourself today to follow this part of Adoption For Life. I did it with my adoption, and I wouldn’t suggest you do it for yours if I didn’t know for certain it was of great value!