When birth mothers are faced with an unexpected pregnancy, they are immediately faced with multiple questions:
How am I going to care for this baby?How am I going to tell my family?What about my plans?Should I parent? Have an abortion? Make an adoption plan?
And if they decide to choose adoption, there are a number of other questions:
Do I want an open adoption?Who can I trust to help me with my adoption plan?How do I tell others about the adoption?
But one of the biggest questions a birth mother is asked during her adoption journey is this one:
What kind of adoptive family do you want to raise your child?
It's a huge question. Loaded with hopes and dreams and even fears and grief and loss.
What kind of family do you want to raise your son?
Do you want a father who is athletic?
Do you want a mother who has a master's degree?
Will they enroll your daughter in ballet classes? Your son in soccer?
What about a transracial family?
Do they have a house with a white picket fence and a golden retriever?
Do they go to church?
Are they outdoorsy, or upper middle-class, or live in the suburbs?
What about a stay at home mom?
Will they take trips to Disney World, or camping, or to the grandparents?
How do they celebrate Christmas?
The list goes on and on and on.
Except these aren't the questions birth moms initially ask.
I've found there's huge myths surrounding the "kind" of family birth mothers are looking for that boil down to this:
Birth moms are only looking for young, infertile couples.
The assumption makes sense. Wouldn't a birth mother love to be able to give the gift of her child to a couple who otherwise would not be able to have a family? And wouldn't she choose a young family with their whole lives ahead of them?
I've even run into a few adoption agencies who hold this belief. To the point that they limit larger families with middle-aged parents.
Here's the problem: it simply isn't true.
So what's the one thing birth families are looking for when it comes to choosing an adoptive family? It always boils down to one thing:
They want to find a family who will love their baby as much as they do.
That's it. There's no magical convergence of age or family make up or infertility.
I get asked multiple times a week by adoptive families if they don't have as much of a chance being chosen by a birth family because they already have children (or are older, or the mother doesn't stay at home, or they don't live in a mansion, etc. etc.).
This is always my response: Imagine gathering your friends together several years ago and dreaming about your "perfect family." Some share that they want to start a family as soon as possible, others are on the "5 year plan" after being married for a while and establishing careers. Some friends dream of a few children and others want a whole house full.
Birth parents and their idea of a "perfect adoptive family" are just as unique as our own ideas of family. It's true, some choose a family who is young and may be unable to have children biologically. But I've had many birth parents tell me they would love an older couple who are experienced parents and have stable careers and income. Others share that they would love for their child to have a large family with lots of siblings to embrace them.
Always, the specifics are secondary. When it comes down to it, birth families want to know that their baby will be loved. That their child will be valued. That their daughter will be loved for her quirky grin and freckles. That their son will be cherished for his adventurous spirit and laugh that reaches all the way up to his dark brown eyes.
There is no single perfect adoptive family. But, I've watched time and time again, a birth mama finds THEIR perfect adoptive family.
A family who loves their little one completely.
A family who sees beyond the differences in biology and genes.
And a family who has room for one more.