Years ago, when I was a teenager and saw the world through rose
colored glasses, I dreamed of being a mother. I daydreamed about wearing
maternity clothes, decorating a nursery and tossing around baby names.
Little did I know then that I would be helping someone else decorate
a nursery and listen to them throwing around names for my baby. No one
dreams of being a birthmother. It just happens.
I found myself “accidentally” pregnant at a time in my life when I
did not think I could give a child all he or she deserved. Although I
loved my unborn baby so much, I had to put my baby’s needs above my
heart's desires. I believe God does not create accidents, so terminating
this pregnancy was not an option for me. I began to look into open
adoption and to think about the things I wanted for my baby.
It is pretty common in today’s adoption world for a birthmother to
choose an adoptive family for her child. I knew I could not be too
picky, but I had to decide which qualities were the most important to me
for my baby’s family to have.
Sometimes, I think birthmothers look for families that had similar
qualities to their own families, or they look for families that have
qualities that their family lacked while growing up, and they often
wished for. These are the questions I asked myself:
1. How important to me is it that my baby be raised in a 2 parent
family? For some birthmothers, not being able to provide a stable father
is one of the main reasons for placing their baby in an adoption
agreement. But for others, a single parent placement may be suitable if
the parent can completely provide for the child.
2. Is it important to me that my baby have a stay at home parent?
Again for some young mothers choosing adoption, this is may be very
important to them as it is another thing they can not give them. And for
others, a stay at home parent is not quite as important. Some
birthmothers may have longed for a stay at home Mom growing up and may
want their child to have a stay at home Mom.
3. Do I want my baby to be an only child or do I want him or her to
have siblings? This question is a little trickier for one can not
predict the future. An adoptive family could have plans to adopt another
child after yours and then for different reasons, it might not happen.
Or they might only be planning on having one child and then
circumstances could change. But there are some birthmothers who want to
place their child with a family who does not have any children yet,
maybe because they were the first and they want their child to be the
first too. Yet, to other birthmothers this might not be as important. A
birth mother who had older brothers or sisters or wished for them, may
want older her child placed with a family that already has children.
4. Is religion a factor? For some birthmothers religion is very
important. If you were raised a devout Catholic, it might be important
to you that your baby be raised by a family that is also Catholic. You
may want your child to grow up with the same customs and traditions that
you had as a child. To others, a loving environment is more important,
and religion does not become an issues.
Before you begin meeting with and talking to couples, you should have
an idea in your head as to what type of adoption you are looking for. Do
you want a very open adoption with the ability to visit anytime? Or
would prefer a scheduled visit once a year? Or do you think visits might
be too tough for you to handle and that pictures and updates would
simply be the best thing for you? Or do you think that anything would be
too hard and that a closed adoption might be the best thing for you.
Although, I think it is more important to keep in mind, that open
adoptions are not legally forceable in most states.
Someone asked me recently, if I thought making a list of qualities
that you are looking for in an adoptive couple, is wrong. I do not
actually recommend making a list of the qualities and attributes you are
searching for in an adoptive family. As you begin to look at profiles on
the internet, or through your agency, or begin to talk to couples, you
could even make notes about them. Searching for a family can be
overwhelming. But, most times, when a birthmother sees the family that
they are meant to be matched with, they know in their heart that is
right. No lists or profiles are needed, they simply know.
The author is not a professional adoption counselor this is
just her advice and points of view written from one birthmother to
About the author: Nicole,
referred to as Coley, is the birthmom of a bouncing baby boy
whom she placed in an open adoption following his birth in 2001. Since
relinquishment, Coley has become very involved in the adoption community
and is the co-founder of BirthMom Buds, a large support web site and
organization for birthmothers and those pregnant and considering
adoption. 1-877-790-4174, email at