Written by: Sara Nolette, CHOICES Coordinator
After the home study is complete, and the Family Profile Book is created, an adoptive family is officially ready to have their profile presented to expectant mothers. This is such an exciting step in the journey! However, it can also be the hardest part of the adoption journey: the waiting phase……. During the home study, there are many tasks to do. In contrast, during the waiting phase, there’s nothing on the “to do” list. During their waiting phase, one of our CHOICES families shared with me that they were just trying to enjoy their lives together, going on dates and enjoying the time just the two of them. I thought this was a great attitude and perspective!
When it is time to present Family Profile Books to an expectant mother, I present families whose preferences match those of the expectant mother. Some families like to know when their book has been shown; others prefer not to know. There is no right way to feel about this, and no right answer. In order to respect each family’s wishes, I do not disclose to a family when their book has been shown unless they ask. If you would like to know if your book has been shown, please ask.
Sometimes our Expectant Mothers want to meet several families; other times there is just one family they would like to meet. Once the expectant mother has made her decision on who she would like to meet, the CHOICES Coordinator will call the Adoptive Family. This phone call will include all known information about the baby and the adoption plan. The majority of this information is self-reported by the expectant mother and may include the mother’s health history, information about the reported father(s), the demographics of the baby, and the mother’s preferences surrounding the adoption. The adoptive family will be given opportunity to decide if they would like to meet the expectant mother.
The Meet and Greet is a very emotionally charged time for both the expectant parents and the adoptive parents! Rest assured this is normal and expected. We recommend extra self-care during this time – ensure you are getting enough sleep (who can sleep with all the excitement?!?), eating well, drinking plenty of water, and exercising. Also remember to do those healthy things that make you feel good; this is different for everyone, but examples include: reading, meditation, prayer, yoga, art, aromatherapy, and time with friends and family.
The Meet and Greet visit is facilitated by the CHOICES Coordinator. Remember to be yourself! Be genuine and honest. Be compassionate and empathetic. After the Meet and Greet, both families are given time to process and think about their decision. The CHOICES Coordinator will arrange a time to follow up with both the expectant family and the adoptive family to discuss next steps; this may mean another visit, or it could be the decision to “match.” It is also possible that one or both parties may decide it is not the right fit.
Our desire at Carolina Adoption Services is to support you through each phase of your journey: the home study, the wait, the match, “baby is here!” and after you take baby home. We are available for questions, concerns, and invite your feedback. Please don’t hesitate to let us know what you need!