Oct 29, 2009

A birth mom’s view of adop­tive parent’s profiles

I lived with 31 birth mom's ages 13-45, so I got a pretty good feel of some different perspectives from them. Hope it helps!
I wrote this on my Adoption Network Group on Linkedin. The group seems to learn a lot from each other. You can join if you want, just click the link! It is also on Birth Mom Missions, of course.

I know a lot of time and thought goes into most adoptive parent's profile. Here are some things I looked for when choosing a family, and some things I didn't look for too.
I looked for photos and content that showed an active outdoor lifestyle. Showing how you would take them snow skiing, to the beach, to the lake, to historical monuments, etc...All the things we birth mothers can't give them and want them to have.
One of the main reasons that a lot of girls. including me, went through with an adoption, was because we wanted our child to have a mother and father. So I'd suggest somehow showing that your relationship is sturdy and will last

Big thing for me. The other kids! How many cousins, relatives, close friends have young children. I want her to grow up with playmates and peers and have FUN. So cute shots of your niece and nephew playing are a plus. don't overkill on the pics with you surrounded by kids though.  It's too obvious, and looks like your kinda weird....jk!
Grandma and Grandpa are a plus... (but not a requirement)

I wanted a strong Christian family, that really followed God and worked daily to know Him more. That's hard to convey in pics and words...but some do it very well.

I am not suggesting anyone lie, it's best to be honest on everything. You don't have to be the CEO of some huge company for us to think your financially secure...(almost anything was more security than I could offer at the moment) Sometimes the profiles look too much like a job application or recommendation letter..
All of the girls (I mean, huge pregnant girls) shared profiles with each other and when they decide on one they would pass it around the room, half bragging over their choice and half scared they missed something and picked the wrong one. I had my roommate go thru it a dozen times for me, just in case I mssed some huge warning flag .(like something in the background that would give them away..haha) We ruminated over those profiles for days, it was probably the first time any of us ever experienced what it was like to be a mom, and make decisions so crucial toyour child's future! What if? What if ? I had God answering me quite a bit then though! But after the decision is finally made, for good, on a couple, I have never seen anyone change their mind. In a way this is when the process begins where the birth mom slowly falls in love with the family of her choice (maybe because we know we have to or maybe it just comes natural. I'm leaning on the natural side, because (speaking for myself) I wasn't thinking all that deep then! I was just wondering what my body was going to do next, and "is that normal?" haha
My "counselor" case worker asked me if I could pick five things very detailed what would they be. So I said mainly just for fun because I knew no one would have EVERYTHING  I wanted for her. But the next day, what do ya know? She handed me "the profile"  "My wishlist" of the perfect family was: 1. They had to be from Texas and live in Texas and love Texas (simple request,lol) That is just important to me.. I want her to grow up with lakes and land and friendly people all around her!  2. I said I wanted a sports family, football especially. I wanted a dad that went to a Texas college and after college watched almost every football game. (is a UT grad Longhorn for life, close enough!) I wanted him to be tall and strong and very protective. (This was all what I just came up with for fun when she asked, I'm not really this shallow. It is just amazing that the family was what I described jokingly the day before. I even said 3. I'd prefer a blonde mom (cause I am blonde? Maybe a weird way of "kinda" like me. Then when we met after she is all grown up, I wouldn't seem like such a foreign figure to her..yeah I thought that out a little too much. There is always hair dye) 4. I said a big backyard. there's was huge! 5. I wanted a Christian family (that was the main #1 factor a profile had to have before I would even consider it. That is just me though. Most of the other girls did not care one bit about their religion, and "really a Christian" who walk with god daily. 6. I slipped in how I'd like if they have boat on the lake, and were naturally athletic in their genes (cause she will be) and yep they actually had that one too. All of these things were shown in their profile, that is why I was truly shocked. They picked these out as important, if they put in on these pages...we think alike too! Ok, that was freaky and rare...but point is, there is a perfect fit for everyone, and it will happen!

I fell in love with my daughter's parents as soon as I saw their profile. But it was when I met the mother a few days later, that it truly sealed the deal. It was like I had known her all my life.  We taped the adoption day (all 4 hours of it) and the mother I chose and I, had the exact same movements and cues. I mean we would both turn our head the same way at the time in response to something we heard...like that. It was cool too watch. I wanted to tell them that day, but everyone suggested I read some more profiles first and sleep on it. So I did...but when you know, you just know. 
God was all over our adoption, I guess no one saw it from my point of view though. I knew what I was doing and I knew what God was doing through me. I haven't ever been sure of myself or able to make decisions.. it was SO Not Me in charge at all. For the first time I understood, I felt it, what God's ultimate sovereignty really means. Nothing is done by mistake, it is ALL in His plan. God is God and he authors all. My rape brought much suffering, but He planned that to show me this new view of him. (And to complete a family, save my life, let me love this way, etc etc) Before all of this, I thought evil happens and then God sees it and then uses it for good..I was totally short changing God and bringing him down to my human level so I could understand. We can't understand and that is what makes his gift of salvation so much sweeter. And isn't it easier to live when you know whatever bad happens, God put it there for a reason (that is ALWAYS for your ultimate good)  I am so preachy today. Geez.. Sorry
What I was trying to get to was.....Don't sweat the profiles or the waiting period, enjoy it, because only God can make it happen.  In my experience, it isn't until you give up, that God starts making things happen.

The online parent profile blogs, which I have seen lately, are a wonderful way to put it all in order! I love them! Our adoption was no where near that open. I thought an "open" adoption meant you get letters.  Now I know. The agency even keeps the parent's last names  secret and so I won't know my daughter's middle or last name until -? So when I later saw couples posting there entire lives online for birth moms to view, I was shocked! The agencies can get in the way, that is for sure.

Another bonus is to have the husband describe the wife's personality and the wife describe the husband.  It allows you to say so much more.  Describe your partner's personality, but don't forget to put something romantic in too! (what made you fall for her, or what is your favorite thing about you wife, etc...) The romantic stuff is cute and needed in any relationship, just don't go overboard with it.  A little genuine love will go along way when a birth mother sees it between you both. I think most of us b moms would rather not our child go through a divorce as well as an adoption at birth.

Try to make fun of each other in your profile. I liked the ones with a sense of humor. Like ur adoptive mom (the Hopeful AP then) was so excited/nervous/happy all at once. She was just real. for instance the both put there favorite tv shows, and maatter how random of a show it would have been, I know they would be honest. There was an equal mix of humor and seriousness. Like I didnt want the perfect family" if there is such a thing...I wanted the family most like me and I am... well random.
Oh a gift (after the birth mom chooses you) is a nice gesture! I mean a card or some cookies. My AP's gave me these comfy pajamas, and I wear them a lot now and feel closer to her(my daughter) for some reason. I got flowers in the delivery room! I loved that. They were the only ones I got and they came at the perfect time! Don't fall for the old line, " I wanted to get her a card, but then I thought it  might bring up old memories" That is BS, like we need a card to conjure up a memory, my daughter is always with me. And we don't get mad or offended very easily anyways. I found this out through research and through personal experience. Befor ewe were birth moms, many of us had a common personality aready, which allows one to do such a thing.

These are some of the responses (names changed for pri­vacy) It seemed to help a few, so maybe it can help more par­ents strug­gling with these silly pro­files. It’s too much pres­sure to put all of your­self in one lit­tle flip book, if you ask me. But it’s also dif­fi­cult to choose a future for your child based off of that to. That is why I say, if your going to try adoption, you must have a ton of faith and hope!  I have no clue, but i imagine the waiting would be hardest part. You have to just close your eyes,  pray and jump in.  We need to work out a bet­ter sys­tem though for getting to know the parents. My solu­tion for every­thing these days is to video­tape instead! But not sure how that would go over with the agencies.

I could go on forever with more on this subject. At least I learned a lot out of the time spent with 30 hormonal and hungry woman in the same space! Our room turned into the "counseling" room somehow. And that is where you learn EVERYTHING about someone. See that's why I feel so strongly that birth moms need a birth mom counselor thru the process, there are just things you can't ask or can't say to anyone but another birth mother. This also helps the AP's too, because the bm's decision is well thought out with the other birth mom (all scenarios have been tried out) and she is sure you are the parents for her child. Thus we avoid the "I changed my mind, oops" reaction after you have already fallen in love. (and those are rare horror stories, promise) Actually only .01% of adoptions are contested by the birth mom later. So the Lifetime Channel needs to come up with a different storyline!

  1. yes, it is a help. I am strug­gling to com­plete our pro­file at this time. I’m a graphic designer by day and there­fore am want­ing our pro­file to be PERFECT and I know I’m mak­ing myself crazy over it. We are just nor­mal peo­ple who want a fam­ily. I find it dif­fi­cult to “sell” our­selves. This is help­ful.

    Just be who you are. Don’t be what your not. Show your heart and show you care. Show that you are loved and can give love. Love is more impor­tant than any mate­r­ial things. I was adopted and I have won­der­ful parents.

  2. Brooke, my adopted daugh­ter is now 12-1/2 (she was 6 months old when we “got” her). Your sug­ges­tions would have been most wel­come back then. This is a ter­rific post and I’m sure that a lot of poten­tial adoptive par­ents will appre­ci­ate your input. BTW — I couldn’t pos­si­bly love my daugh­ter any more — God had her in mind for our fam­ily. She blesses my day every sin­gle minut

  3. youBrooke Bida Director at Birth Mom Missions Thank you so much Nancy! What you said about your daugh­ter, is exactly what I hope to hear form my child’s parent’s some day. Thank you! I love adop­tion because of peo­ple like you. I know what you mean, some things you just feel God’s hand in it, and it was so clear to me she was meant for her fam­ily. It’s so cool how chil­dren can bless us every minute of the day just by being alive. I feel like my daugh­ter blesses me every­day too, even though I can’t see her.


Nancy McCullough said...

Thank you.

Carrie said...

I just found your blog recently and am really enjoying reading through it. Coming from the infertile blog world and now the adoptive blog world, it's very refreshing to actually read the birthparents' side of things instead of just what agencies, attorneys, etc. tell us. I realy look forward to seeing what else you've written AND I nominated you for a Beautiful Blogger award at my blog :)

Anonymous said...

This scares me honestly to hear that the siblings are of such importance. We are a waiting family, AP's. This will be our first child. There are no siblings yet and there's nothing we can do about that. How are we supposed to get a child ever if all birth mothers only want families with kids already? Please know that we INTEND to have siblings LATER. We want to adopt 2 or 3 kids, so don't knock AP's without kids... because if they can't have their own they have to start somewhere and hope to adopt more than one eventually. Just saying.