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kristal

Selecting the right family for your baby

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The hardest decision regarding adoption is "Should I place my child?" The second hardest undoubtedly has to be "Who should I pick to parent my child?" Making this decision sets the pace for the rest of your adoption. Picking the right family means selecting a couple you feel you get along well with. A couple that has the same expectations of open adoption. There isn't a need to settle with a family you aren't 110% about. Abrazo has many parents-in-waiting, and every orientation group brings more profiles to choose from. Abrazo's motto afterall is "Its not if, but when" so don't feel pressured to pick the first family you talk to, their child is out there and you might not have been sure about them because your child isn't the one God has planned for them. Placing is a hard decision, knowing you picked the right family will make it easier.

Ask these questions to make sure you and the prospective match are on the same page:

-What kind of relationship do they want with you before and after placement?

-How do they want to discuss you with the baby? Is this the way you want to be presented?

-What do they plan to do for childcare?Is this what you envisioned? (Ex. a stay at home parent, daycare, family care)

-How involved are they in a particular religious practice?

-How will they explain you to their family?

-What family actives do they participate in?

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Kristal, thank you for adding so much valuable insight here.

I just wanted to add that we were not matched very long with either of our children's birthparents, however both placements had all the right feelings. We did not know each other well, but just enough. We felt like we had known each other forever. There is this indescribable thing that happens when emotion and need blur together and God helps put us all together.

Also, I do not think an expectant Mom should feel the need to convince anyone about her choices, to place and/or with whom.

Karen

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Karen, thanks for illustrating that connection. Its really important. Hopefully these are lifelong matches, they should be at least 18 years though. Baby comes pretty quick though, so when you're developing a relationship on the fast track, it needs to be one that you can cherish forever.

Other things to consider:

-How many children do the prospective adoptive parents want/have(did you want you child to be an only child or have siblings)

-Will the family be separated for periods of time(like a family with a military parent, or a parent who takes a lot of business trips)

---If so how do they intend to keep close?

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Well, I am literally days away from delivering and placing, and I could not be more satisfied with my family! My story actually involves me almost moving forward with a family I was not "110% about" as Kristal so nicely phrased it! I had to change agencies to get the family I wanted, and thank goodness I did, because I got a wonderful family! They really are perfect. We have connected, even though we were only matched a month before I was expected to deliver.Some of the questions I asked were

*What are your ideas/philosophies/plans about/for discipline?

*What if the baby doesn't want to play sports when he's older?

*How do the two of you handle arguments and conflicts?

*Why do you like open adoption?

*How much t.v. do you feel is appropriate for a child?

*How early would you teach him to read?

*How important is college to the two of you? Will it be enforced?

*Will you stay at home to take care of the baby?

*Do you believe in coddling a baby, or letting them cry it out when necessary?

*What time are each of you willing to set aside separately for bonding purposes?

*Who will be the main disciplinarian?

*How committed are you to participating in an open adoption?

Those are all the ones I could think of. I'll find my list and post some of my better ones later.

I knew they were the right couple from our first conversation! I knew I was uncomfortable with the family I was almost matched with at my other agency, but I couldn't figure out what was making me so uncomfortable (besides the fact that they only wanted a semi-open adoption) about them. As soon as I talked to the McD's, I felt it. I came to Abrazo seeking support, and a birth mother on here helped set up a phone conversation with Jen and me. As soon as I talked to her, we found that we have so much in common! I felt a connection, and they had the same values as I do and I was raised with. I just felt it deep inside of me that they were right! I know it sounds cheesy, but I just felt it was more than liking her as a person. The next day, Pamela came out to see me and I committed myself to Abrazo and got officially matched with Jen and Amos. I don't regret changing agencies at all. Things between my AP's and I couldn't be better, and they couldn't be more supportive.

So basically, unless it feels kinda cheesy when you talk about how you felt a connection when you realized they were perfect, you may not have the right couple! I was kidding. But make sure it's right. Make sure you know deep down in your soul that they are the parents to raise the baby. If you're a Christian, make sure this is what God is telling you to do!

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Sad sorry out of Arizona, where Charity Newton, the Texas birthmom of a two-year-old named Syler Newton, gave him to a friend in Arizona who has reportedy "lost" the child in the wild during a camping trip: The Sad, Short Homelife of A Boy Named Syler.

I'm not sayin' that every adoption has to be done through an adoption agency, but there IS a right way and a wrong way to go about placing a child for adoption, and handing your baby to a random friend (no matter how well you think you know them) may not be the safest route for you OR your child.

Safe adoptions have transparency, which means there's a careful process of pre-adoption investigation and preparation, as well as legally-approved decision making and official paperwork involved.

* Never have anyone else providing semi-permanent care of your child if they have not first passed a bonafide homestudy done by a licensed social worker who is continuing to supervise the placement afterwards for a pre-established period of time!

* Know that if you are not legally surrendering all your parental rights, anyone you give your child to (whether or not you intend for them to keep your child) can NOT legally obtain necessary medical treatment for your little one even in case of emergency.

* Understand that there is no such thing as "temporary adoption" and that even if you think (as Charity did) that the friend you are placing your child with will return him/her when you say you're ready, in most states, the caretaker of any child/ren left in their care can petition the court for permanent custody even without the birthparents' approval.

* For all the paperwork and the costs and annoyance of doing an adoption through an agency or attorney, the extra effort will likely pay off in the future for you and your child/ren... better safe than sorry!

If you are contemplating entrusting a child to a friend or family member, require that they obtain a full homestudy with criminal checks, FIRST. They should also pay for you to have legal representation AND pre/post adoption counseling, as well, so that all parties are protected.

And as always, if you need the help of compassionate adoption professionals who may not tell you what you want to hear but will always shoot straight with you, we're here to help! Call us anytime: 1-800-454-5683 in Texas (210/342-5683 if you're calling from out of state.) We've got your back, and that of your child! :)

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What a mess. Praying that Skyler is with his Heavenly Father.

Heather

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Sadly, authorities in Arizona believe that they have located the skeletal remains of Sylar Newton, and that foul play was involved: Rest in Peace, Little Man.

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Sadly, authorities in Arizona believe that they have located the skeletal remains of Sylar Newton, and that foul play was involved: Rest in Peace, Little Man.

Such a horribly sad story, Rest In Peace Sweet Boy

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Alrighty, well I looked for something along these lines and didn't find it, so I figured I'd start this new topic.

For all the propective birthparents out there I want to share something with you that I now know and learned the hard way.

When you are trying to find the "Right" Match and if you start calling the Birthmother Lines that propective AP's have set up. Please remember this. You are NOT obligated by any means to match with them just because you called them, or even if you meet with them and decide that something just doesn't fit.

I myself in my mind, felt like I was almost committing fraud after I had called 3 different couples about the triplets adoption (even though I didn't know I was having triplets at thta point) the first 2 I called they just didn't sit right with me. But when I called Gabe and Lisa everything seemed just right. But for the same reason that I didn't call any prospective AP's except for the AP's of FIona. and I probably should have, there were a lot of little "signals" that I should have seen but I choose to ignore. Now I see that, but to little too late.

On the AP side, I know everytime that phone rings their heart jumps, but I also know that a lot of them wont even starting being hopeful until the 2nd-3rd call.

Other BP's and AP's please post your feelings on this too. I really wish I would have had someone to tell me this when I was pregnant! and choosing AP's!

Thanks

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Loriahn, I know you found your adoptive parents through a different agency, but at Abrazo, we never even advise our adopting parents to set up "baby lines" or "birthmother lines" (those tollfree numbers that adoptive parents can purchase to take calls from prospective birthparents until they arbitrarily cut it off). At Abrazo, we believe in full-disclosure and we want the expectant parents who match in our program to be able to trust that the identifying information (like last names, addresses, phone numbers, etc.) our adopting families provide isn't temporary or subject to change.

Abrazo encourages all our moms to initially choose three prospective families to speak with, and we do so to ensure that those moms know they have more than one option and don't feel "guilted into" choosing someone with whom they may, in actuality, have little in common. You are absolutely right: no mother (or father) should EVER feel they "have" to pick someone, and expectant parents should avail themselves of the right to explore a variety of possible homes and possible alternatives, before making any final decisions!

We try to teach our adopting families at orientation that there's a "right" match for everyone, and that it's important for everybody to be able to exercise discretion in determining which match is (or is not) right for them, and why. A phone call is not a lifetime commitment; it's only an introductory step in the process of determining whether or not adoption is likely to be the most fitting choice for one's child's future (or not.)

I'd like to think that Abrazo's adoptive families genuinely want each prospective mom with whom they speak to make her own best choices, knowing the baby that's meant for them will find them eventually, and treasuring each such phone call (regardless of the outcome) as a chance to better appreciate the challenges faced by expectant parents considering placement.

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I find this topic so interesting. I hope others will post their experiences. How does one set out to find the right family?

Do you start with a list of criteria?

Do you follow your heart?

Do you listen for comfort and sincerity in their voices?

Do you look for things in common?

Both of our Birthmoms have said, when they found us, they just instinctively knew we were right for their baby.

But how did they really know?

Karen

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I can only imagine how difficult this decision might be. Since our profile just went 'up in lights' we don't have much experience with the process but we trust that the right match will happen at the right time. It sounds as if that's the case. It also sounds like it is sometimes hard to explain why a couple is chosen but that it just feels right. I think that the questions posted are great questions to ask. It's important that everyone be honest and truthful so a good relationship is built.

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I remember a social worker telling us that he always liked to ask aps after placement, would you rather have received a child sooner or would you rather have this child? Universally everyone always says the wait was worth it, this is the child for our family. I think the same is true of birthparents chosing aps. Our son parker's birthmom went through EVERY profile in our agency in wa and was really looking at specific family because they were almost the right family. Then we met at an agency function and she saw our profile after that and I'm so glad that other birthparents didn't choose us so that we were there when jordyn needed us and we needed her.

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Most placing parents, like most adopting parents, come to the adoption process with a preconceived set of expectations about what would be the "right" kind of match.

For adopting parents, their initial expectations are generally defined by their hopes and desires for the "right kind of baby" (brevity of time until due date, child's age at time of placement, race, health, sometimes gender) and is heavily-influenced by their sense of whether a mother's pregnancy care choices will result in a "good" child for them.

For most birthparents, their expectations are usually defined by their thoughts about what makes the "right kind of parents" (marital history, age/vitality/life-expectancy, religion, value system) and is heavily-influenced by their sense of how the adoptive parents make them feel about their plans.

Despite most adopting parents' urgency to take placement, very rarely do we find that prospective birthparents are "in a hurry to match"-- even when the due date is fast-approaching.

Most placing parents carefully peruse profiles, scouring photos before tackling text. Some come to Abrazo to review all our profiles, then take those that interest them most home to read further, then spend more time getting their courage up for an actual phone call. Some wait for the birth to occur before contacting the agency again, feeling preliminary phone calls make it all "too real" or "too intentional."

Abrazo always encourages expectant and already-delivered moms to speak with 3 families, initially. This increases the likelihood that her needs and an adoptive family's expectations will ultimately "match up" in a complementary fashion. Sometimes, a family who looks ideal "on paper" may not come across that way over the phone... or vice versa. One then must factor in the eliminating that occurs when a prospective adoptive family elects not to match with a prospective birthmom, once the case assessment is provided and added detail creates additional "filters".

Rarely, though, is there a definable answer as to what makes one family "click" but not the others. If anything, it's less about what is actually said than what is felt. Most placing parents can tell you how they felt, after their calls with the "right" family, rather than what was said that resonated with them. (And when there is something "wrong" with a particular family, it generally has to do with something that was said that felt wrong to the prospective birthparent/s, not something that was "wrong with" the family in question.)

But with only a few exceptions, their feedback regarding the "other families" wasn't that there was anything said that was wrong or offensive-- just that it didn't "feel right."

However eager waiting adoptive parents may be to get a match made, there really is such a thing as a "match made in Heaven" and those really are worth waiting for, whether one is placing or adopting.

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Elizabeth - That is good and helpful information to hear and remember as you go on this roller coaster ride. Thanks for sharing!

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This may sound odd as an AP, but not jumping at the first BP who calls isn't always best either. Sometimes when it sounds too good to be true, it usually is. Many BP are nervous & want you to like her so you'll like her baby so they may say what AP want to hear. To all PIWs, use prayer to guide you. God truly has the right baby for you.

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Great information on the process that the birthparents go through in choosing the right family. I know for us, we agonized on turning in our profile, thinking that it wouldn't be good enough and didn't provide the right information. Luckily for us, we were matched even before our profile was completed. For those stilling trying to make a decision, put your trust in the Lord.

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Thanks for sharing this information, Elizabeth. I've always known that we will find that "right" match and though the waiting can be difficult, I have absolute faith that whoever is meant for us will be so worth whatever wait we must have to expand our family and I am so hoping that we'll be expanding not only with a child but with a wonderful birth family, too.

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this is a good reminder that the passage of time is so different for all of us. for those of us on the adopting end time often seems to move so slowly. but i imagine that for expectant parents considering placing that that ever present due date comes up very quickly, and that can be very overwhelming in the face of trying to make some intense decisions.

andrea

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This is all very good information. I think it is very important that expectant mothers take the time and ask these questions just as adoptive parents want to ask the expectant mother questions. We have friends that have adopted internationally and literally have waited 5+ years for their children. When we researched Abrazo and heard 6-12 months average, we were surprised. While many couples in our orientation group have already matched and gone through placement, I look at each of these families and can truly see that their children were "right" for them. We are enjoying marriage as a couple and trusting in God's plan.

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This is all very good information. I think it is very important that expectant mothers take the time and ask these questions just as adoptive parents want to ask the expectant mother questions. We have friends that have adopted internationally and literally have waited 5+ years for their children. When we researched Abrazo and heard 6-12 months average, we were surprised. While many couples in our orientation group have already matched and gone through placement, I look at each of these families and can truly see that their children were "right" for them. We are enjoying marriage as a couple and trusting in God's plan.

Jenni, it's nice to hear that you're processing things in this way. Once you have your baby in your arms, you'll look back at your orientation group members (and those who placed right before/after you) and think "yep, couldn't have been any other way" - because of your child, but also his/her first family. It's tough when you go into the process thinking 6-12 months and others are matching/placing around you, but keep the faith... it'll happen and it won't be 5 years down the road I'm sure!!! :)

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Audra talked this weekend with an expectant mom who just found Abrazo via our Facebook ad, and who has already been looking over profiles in our Parents-in-Waiting section of the Abrazo Gallery... we're delighted to welcome her (and all prospective birthparents) to Abrazo's Forum! Whether you're seeking to find the "right" family for the future of your baby, or the "right" match for the future of your family, following your heart and listening to your own inner wisdom and allowing Abrazo to help offer guidance about your options, as needed, is sure to help you make whatever choices are right for you!

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Now that Chris and I are matched with our Birthfamily and going through the emotions of this journey I look back and think of the conversations and decisions that were made just recently. I imagined for the birthfamily making such a brave and loving decision that they go through similar emotions that we do as Adoptive Parents. I have respect for the birthfamily selection process and feel honored to have been chosen and that it was a big loving decision.

Danette

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"We try to teach our adopting families at orientation that there's a "right" match for everyone, and that it's important for everybody to be able to exercise discretion in determining which match is (or is not) right for them, and why. A phone call is not a lifetime commitment; it's only an introductory step in the process of determining whether or not adoption is likely to be the most fitting choice for one's child's future (or not.)" Elizabeth

I'm glad Abrazo has lots of resources avail for the birthfamilies and AP. The forum, fb, group, orientation weekend, camp. I appreciate what you ladies do on both sides.

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My experience..

When I spoke to the AP's I picked it just "felt right" on a personal level! I didn't know what to expect when I called. I was sure they were going to be just as nervous as I was. They were the 2nd PIW I spoke to and on our subsequent conversations I felt connected to her as a friend. I thought that if I met her outside this situation that we could be friends. The 2nd thing that made me feel wonderful is that they felt the need to connect to their current child's BP's. Even though those BP's had chose not to continue an open relationship w/ them they continue to send pictures, letters, etc to the agency. That made me feel like they really wanted this to be an open adoption, do what's best for their son and that it wasn't just an "easy" way to obtain a child/family for themselves.

The 1st couple I spoke to were very nice and had never adopted before. When I asked about how open they wanted their adoption to be they were unsure. They weren't certain as to when they would tell the child they were adopted and how they would tell him. That concerned me and I never called them back.

When I finally met them and their son, there was no doubt that if I were to go through w/ the adoption, this family was sent to me and I was sent to them. smile.gif Once they met my older children, they took them under their wings and embraced them. They made them feel included and assured them they would always be a part of their brothers life.

Although it hasn't been very long since they have taken my son home, they have exceeded every expectation I could imagine.

I hope this helps some BP's.

Edited by michcana
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