By Lauren Madsen // Adoptive Mom
Getting Matched with an Expectant Mother and Hushing Fears
One year ago, my husband and I became hopeful adoptive parents. This was our first adoption, so I wasn’t quite sure what to expect or what to do. I checked our adoption profile every day (okay, it was probably every five minutes) to see if expectant parents had contacted us. The first time we were contacted, I was so excited that I danced in my living room like a crazy person. I was filled with excitement, love for a child I had yet to meet, and quite frankly, fear. I tried to push the worries aside and focus purely on welcoming a miracle to our family, but part of adoption is accepting that situations can change rapidly. One of my greatest fears was having an adoption fall through. If you have fears about expectant parents changing their minds about an adoption plan, you are not alone. That is probably one of the most common fears among hopeful adoptive parents.
My husband and I were matched with an expectant mother, who we will call Mama S, for almost 20 weeks. We had been to doctor’s appointments, had recordings of the heartbeat, met her mom, and texted each other frequently. She was expecting a little boy and from the moment we were matched, I began to prepare for him. I posted a picture of his ultrasound on our fridge and began putting together a woodland themed nursery. I bought him clothes and made him blankets. I fell head over heels in love. Maybe you think I’m crazy for doing so because as many of you know, at any point during the pregnancy, Mama S could have changed her mind and chosen to parent. Every expectant parent has the right to discontinue an adoption plan until they sign a legal document relinquishing parental rights after the child’s birth. At this point in the adoption process, many choose to play it safe and harbor feelings of excitement until they have the security of relinquishment.
Moving Forward with Adoption and Having Faith
So if she could change her mind, then why on earth did I set up a nursery for the baby boy who may not even end up being our son? In all honesty, it was because of the way I felt. We had spoken with other expectant mothers and while they were all amazing, I felt very at ease with Mama S and her decision to place her son for adoption. Her caseworker was counseling her to ensure she was making the right decision for her and her child. Her family was supportive of the adoption and she was very transparent with us about her feelings. I knew it would be extremely painful for us if she changed her mind, however, I wanted Mama S to be 110% confident in her decision of choosing us to adopt her child.
Warning and Encouragement about Adoption Fears
If you currently are hopeful adoptive parents, I have a little warning for you. You have probably heard of pregnant women being told gruesome birthing stories and the same goes for adoption. Someone will probably tell you about how they heard a story this one time about a birth mother showing up years later demanding to have her child back and threatening to take the family to court to regain custody. I can’t tell you how many horror stories I was told when I told people we were trying to adopt and I’d be lying if I said I didn’t get freaked out by all of the possibilities. Fortunately, our adoption story is far from terrifying and everything went beautifully. On March 18th, our son was born. Our state requires birth mothers to sign the relinquishment of their rights in front of a judge, so our case worker set up a date at the courthouse for Mama S a week after our baby was born. Each state has their own regulation on when and how relinquishment happens, so check on your state’s laws.
It is okay to be nervous about expectant parents changing their minds and choosing to parent. It does happen at times and it hurts when you get your hopes up. When we were hopeful adoptive parents, I constantly told myself, “the child meant for our family will find their way.” Our journey was not without hiccups. It was an emotional roller coaster and we spoke with lots of expectant mothers before meeting Mama S and getting matched, but as I write this post, a perfect brown-eyed boy is sleeping next to me. Everything worked out exactly the way it needed to so that he could come to our family and it will be the same for you. Comment below and let us hear how your adoption journey is going!