I feel like most of the women who have contacted us so far have changed their mind about adoption (or us as the parents) or have been potential scammers. Is this normal? Am I doing something wrong? How many women do I have to talk to before I find the right one?
First and foremost, no, you are not doing anything wrong. Of the women who consider adoption, only about 5-10% of them will complete an adoption, so talking to others is part of the process.
There are people who adopted the child of the first woman they heard from. And there are some who have been through many conversations and failed adoptions, even reclaims, before they found the one that “stuck”. For all the potential birth parents you have spoken to, there are other families out there trying wishing they could speak to just one!
Adoption is a journey, and for a woman considering adoption, speaking to a family is part of the journey. (And unfortunately, scams are also out there, which is why taking advantage of our birth parent screening is so vital!)
If you have talked to a number of women who you (and our team!) believe to have been good prospects, but for whatever reason have changed their mind about you, reflect back on your conversations. Here are a few key things to keep in mind for future conversations:
It’s not about you. Some adoptive parents talk all about themselves, asking nothing about the birth parent. She needs to know you care about her, so take an interest in her, ask what her talents and skills are, ask about her family. Learn about her hopes and dreams for her child, and let her know that whatever she decides, you are honored just to have the chance to speak. Give her the opportunity to ask questions of you, and answer honestly. One family I helped years ago, when asked what they did, the husband answered that he was a senior manager in a large corporation. The birth mother later found out he was the manager of a local McDonald’s. Was he truthful, perhaps, but also was clearly misleading her.
Stay positive! She may ask about money or contact that makes you uncomfortable. Before you shut her down completely, talk to your coordinator. Years ago I helped a family who, when asked for a few months of help with rent, immediately said “We can’t really do that,” before they even asked what it was. Her rent for a shared apartment was $275, and thinking that they couldn’t afford to help her with less than $1,000, she decided to move on to a different family. Not because the money was important, but she deduced that if they didn’t have that much to help her, they probably didn’t have enough to raise her child and provide the type of life she wanted him to have. The family certainly could have afforded it, but legally their state didn’t allow it. Your coordinator can help with wording for you.
Leave the baggage in the car. Don’t carry over bad feelings or negative expectations from one potential birth parent to the next. Just because the last one said she would call again and never did, doesn’t mean the next one will do the same. Each person you speak to is one step closer to the birth parent who you will match with. It is vital that each woman is treated like the treasure she may be.
Cut off scams right away. Once you have verified a scam, block them and don’t give them any more air. If you have lost money, report it to local law enforcement in her area and move on. Don’t hang on thinking something might work. A verified scam is just that, a scam. Remember, just because a woman changes her mind doesn’t mean she is a scam – adoption is a matter of the heart, and some women who change their mind, may change it back again.
It sounds like you are in the right place where many women are reaching out to you. Keep talking to them and touch base with your coordinator. She may have other tips for you!