We’ve all heard “you can’t choose your family.” And when it comes to the family we’re born into, it’s true. But it’s one of the joys and beauties of adoption, both for the adoptive family AND the birth parents, that you CAN choose your family.
We know that, for every birth mom, the decision to make an adoption plan is difficult. But it no longer has to look like a 1920s orphan train, or even a 1960s orphanage, where you hand your child over to a stranger, walk away, and never get to look back. In modern adoptions, you have soooo many options, including getting to choose how much contact you have with the child as he grows, what kind of environment she’ll grow up in, or how he will know you have always loved him. But all those options rely on one of the most important options we can offer you: the chance to choose your family. So if one of the biggest questions in your mind is “How do I know my baby will go to a good home,” keep reading. This is how you know:
- Participate in matching
When you decide to move forward with planning an adoption, your caseworker will walk you through a process we call “matching.” They’ll talk with you about your family history, what you know about the baby’s health and the birth father, and they’ll take notes about any medical history, mental health history, or substance use. We’re not asking so we can judge you, we won’t share what you tell us with anyone but the family you choose, and nothing you tell us will keep us from being able to find a wonderful home for your baby.
If you don’t know something, that’s totally fine. If there are some things you’re not proud of, that’s okay, too. Everyone has things they aren’t excited to talk about, but we’re only asking so we can help you find the family who is best prepared to care for your child and to help them with whatever challenges they might face as they grow up.
- Choose a family you connect with
All of our families go through an ex.ten.sive application and multiple background checks. Before you ever see them, they have completed national fingerprinting and background checks, they have been asked about every corner of their history from childhood to the present, they have had caseworkers walk through their home to make sure there’s nothing dangerous, and they’ve had caseworkers talk to their friends, relatives and even their other children, all to make sure they are going to be great parents to your little one.
After all that, they will make a little book that we call a “Life Book.” It will have tons of pictures and will tell you all about their home and their family. It might talk about why they want to adopt or how they have been praying for you even before they knew who you were. And you will get to look through several of those books to choose the family that you connect with the most. Whether you want a family with lots of other kids or no other kids, one with grandparents close by or one that loves to travel, or one that has lots of pets, we can help you find the family you want your child to have.
- Get to know your new family
Once you have chosen a family and they have agreed to the match, you have the opportunity to talk with them over the phone or a video chat, or even to meet them in person, if they live close enough to allow for it. Take advantage of the chance to get to know them. Even if you trust that the family is safe, everyone has people that they connect with or don’t, and it will make the process much easier and more comfortable if you feel good about the family you’re trusting your child with. And if you don’t, that’s totally okay. At any point in the process, if you feel uncomfortable with the family you’re working with, just let us know and we can work with you to find a different one.
Whatever you choose–whether you are comfortable participating in the whole process, or if you feel safer holding back a bit–you can feel confident knowing that YOU got to make the call. When so many things can feel out of your control during pregnancy and especially with an unexpected pregnancy, this is one area where you can be entirely in charge.