We have talked this month about the steps in the domestic infant adoption process. Generally, you need to decide which type of adoption is right for you, then you get home study approved, you prepare an adoption profile, you finalize your adoption preferences, you choose the professionals for your journey and get active with those professionals, and then you begin your adoption wait. Some families wait a long time and present to a lot of expectant mothers before being chosen, and some get chosen on their first presentation! It can be such exciting news and one of the major milestones in the domestic adoption journey. But what is next? And what does being chosen (or matched) really mean?
As I have educated on before, being chosen just means that you are one step closer to a child, and while it is a major milestone, that child may never actually be yours. It means an expectant family considering adoption is certain enough about their adoption plan and you to choose to bring you along on that journey. I encourage my Purl families to enjoy the moment but also be cautious about celebrating that particular child too much. Many times being chosen does result in your child, but sometimes it does not. Read more here about what we think you should not do when you are chosen by an expectant mom.
So while you can celebrate that particular milestone, you may not want to celebrate that particular child you might have been “chosen” for. I wouldn’t recommend referring specifically to that child as if he or she will certainly be yours, reserving your favorite baby name for a particular child, buying a blue car seat for that baby boy (like I did), or having a baby shower for that particular child. Instead, I would recommend you try as hard as you can to support that particular expectant family no matter the ultimate decision made and no matter how much a disrupted adoption may break your already fragile heart (and sometimes your bank account).
Some people consider having a baby shower or start a (gender neutral) baby registry for a child you are hoping to have through adoption, but we don’t recommend that once you match, you can read more on that here. It is helpful to think of and discuss your favorite baby names, both boy and girl, and figure out how you can do that collaboratively with the expectant parents, if they are open to that. But educate your friends and family that your preparation isn’t necessarily associated with that particular child, and be careful to always be mindful of protecting your future child’s and an expectant family’s private story. Remember that whoever you tell about your match, will also be who you have to explain your disrupted adoption to if that plan does not result in an adoption. And depending on you and how much you want to share with friends/family about your adoption, you might want to wait to celebrate until once baby is born and consents have been signed.
I would definitely lean on your adoption advisor, if you have one, as they should be there to support you. I’m surprised and sometimes disappointed that many adoption agencies and attorneys don’t provide much by way of resources, support and education to prospective adoptive parents during the wait to be matched, during the match itself, around the birth of a child or even after a disruption. I’m also surprised that there are adoption advisors that charge fees just for a match (that’s really facilitation) or for just giving them agency lists or sending adoption opportunities, without much other guidance. At Purl, we help our families with education and resources throughout their adoption journey. We spend a lot of time around selecting agencies and attorneys right for them. Then, once matched, we help our Purl families with the circumstances that might come up in their match and around the expected birth of a child.
So no matter where you are in the adoption process, prepare your heart and mind for a child, because I truly believe that a child will come through adoption if you persevere and wait long enough, even if it doesn’t come from a particular match or it takes one or more “almosts” to get to your child. Just make sure you have the right support (and advisor) around you during this difficult process!