Meeting Your Child’s Adoptive Parents
Talking to and meeting your child’s adoptive parents for the first time can be one of the most nerve wracking experiences. The only way I can describe it is like going on a blind date. I remember feeling so nervous and wondering what they would be like and what we would talk about. I mean we were complete strangers after all. Would there be anything to talk about? Were they going to judge me? Were they going to like me? What would happen if they didn’t like me? My head was spinning with a million different questions. In my case we started off with a phone call and then got to meet each other in person. After going through this experience, I have reflected on a few tips and things to remember if you find yourself feeling that same way.
HAVE QUESTIONS PREPARED. This sounded kind of weird to me at the time, but it was so helpful and most importantly it alleviated any awkward silence. As soon as there was a lull in the conversation, I would ask one of my questions. It also helped me to really get to know them. There were things that I wanted to know about them, but with all the nerves I would have forgotten to ask. It was really helpful to have them written down and in front of me. You may want to know what they do for work, what they like to do in their free time, or whether or not they plan to be stay-at-home parents. Having a list of questions can help to calm your nerves and make you feel prepared. Plus, if it’s a phone call they won’t even know you have the list. Also, something to remember…if there is something you want to know, but you don’t feel comfortable asking them directly, reach out to your adoption professional, who I’m sure would be happy to get the answer for you.
BE OPEN AND HONEST. It is so important to be open and honest about the way you are feeling or how things are going. Adoptive parents genuinely care about you and want the best for you, whatever that might be. They are not there to judge you or make you feel badly.
VIDEO CHAT IF YOU CAN. If you can’t meet in person, video chat is an amazing option. You can only get to know someone so much by the sound of their voice. It can be a lot easier to form a connection with adoptive parents when you can see their faces. I know this can be kind of scary, but hopefully by now you have had a few conversations on the phone or through texting and you feel more comfortable with each other. Video can give them a chance to show you their home, for you to see how they interact, and to build a stronger bond. I know a lot of birth parents that would video chat once a week to check in and catch up on what was going on in life.
ASK FOR MORE PICTURES. At this point you have probably only seen a few pictures from their profile or on their website. Picture albums can be a really great way to connect and share stories about different memories and times in their lives. It can also help you to envision what your child’s life may be like in the future. Is there a particular place they like to vacation every year? Do they have family reunions with extended family? Do they love to ride bikes by the beach? All of these pictures and stories can paint a picture of their life, hobbies, vacations, etc. If you feel comfortable, you can share pictures as well. The goal in all of this is to build a relationship and connection that makes you feel comfortable.
AND REMEMBER…nerves are completely normal. I can guarantee the adoptive parents are just as nervous, if not more nervous than you are! They are experiencing a lot of the same feelings and hoping you like them as well. And it may take a few times of talking or meeting for things to start to feel more comfortable but the hope at the end of it is that you both feel a connection to each other and feel comfortable with taking the next step in the process, becoming exclusive!