Right after we had been matched and told everyone, I saw blog post by America Adopts, "What Not To Do After You’ve Been Matched With A Prospective Birthmother." Boy, do I wish I had seen that post earlier. It probably would not have changed how I handled things, but now I understand. His post was written from experience. You know what they say, hindsight is 20/20. I still get people coming up to me asking if I am getting excited about the baby and I have to tell them there is no baby. It sucks.
I emailed Lawrence at America Adopts, told him I loved his site and asked if I could repost his list with my thoughts. He agreed, but told me he got a lot of feedback from his post and plans to do a re-write. I hear ya about feedback, to each their own and this advice might not be right for everyone. Follow your heart, but at the same protect it a little.
Here's his list with my commentary in red:
Don’t tell everyone you know When you’re trying to find a match, everyone tells you to scream the news from the rooftops and let everyone know you’re looking to adopt. The thinking being, one person will tell another who will in turn tell another until eventually one of those people will lead you to the adoption situation you’ve been waiting for. But after you’ve found a match, the process is completely the opposite. Knowing that the prospective birthmother can change her mind at any time leading up to the placement, you’re better off keeping the news to yourself. If you really want to share the news — and let’s face it, who doesn’t — tell a few discreet well-placed people but only after they’ve vowed not to tell anyone else.
We told everyone we knew and then some. I posted it on my blog for goodness sake. I was excited and I wanted to be like any other awaiting mom. The high was high, but the low was the lowest. Having to tell people that it didn't work out felt like a death. Next time we won't announce it. Maybe we'll tell immediate family and a few close friends, but I just can't bear having to tell another disappointment. I'd rather just show up with our baby one day.
Don’t finalize a baby name After you’ve found a match, it’s tempting to turn to names for the new baby, especially if you know the gender. Who doesn’t have a list of favorite baby names? But don’t play the name game just yet. For one thing, you’ll want to get the prospective birthmother’s input. Otherwise, she’ll feel left out. Often, the way it works is the adoptive parents will come up with the child’s first name, and the birthparents will supply the middle one. The other danger about jumping in too quickly is that if the adoption falls apart, you won’t be mourning just the loss of your baby. You’ll also be mourning the loss of that baby’s name. That’s because once you associate a name with one child, you won’t want to use it for another one.
We didn't finalize a name, but we picked out a couple and started trying them out. We were definitely leaning towards one and now it doesn't feel right to use that name for another child. That was this little girl's name. Totally agree with this one.
Don’t paint the nursery There’s a lot of debate over this one. Some people see painting the nursery as a positive step, a chance to relax and be proactive while you wait for the placement to happen. Others, however, are more superstitious and argue that painting the nursery before the adoption is finalized could jinx your chances of becoming a parent. So what’s the big deal? Will a few coats of paint really change anything? They won’t. And yet, if things don’t go according to plan, that nursery could become yet another reminder of what happened, or in this case, didn’t happen to your adoption plan.
We don't have a nursery set-up, we plan to have the baby in our room for a little bit. Some people set-up up a nursery and paint for a baby when they start the adoption journey. It helps them get ready. I totally get that. But I can't imagine if I set-up a room specifically for the baby we were matched with, it would have made things harder for us. Sometimes the wait to adopt is long and for me, having a room ready is a constant reminder of what's missing in life. Hey, if you want a nursery, go for it!
Don’t go on a shopping spree Once you’re a parent, you’ll need to buy a lot of things for your child: diapers, wipes, formula, clothes, bedding, furniture, toys. So why not start early? After all, you’ve got all this time on your hands. Again, there’s no problem, just don’t get too carried away. There’s nothing wrong with researching car seats, baby formula and bassinets. Just leave the major shopping spree for another time.
We didn't go on a shopping spree, but we did register. I moved all of our stuff over to an Amazon wish list after the matched failed. I hated calling Babies R Us to cancel our registry. P.S. Babies R Us should really let you cancel a registry online and not make you call. It's most likely not happy circumstance and having to call to cancel is really not fun. For the few things we did buy, I just put those in box for another day.
Don’t ignore the prospective birthmother’s needs I left this point for last, but it’s probably the most important one of all. After you find a match, don’t take it, or the prospective birthmother, for granted. As you’re waiting for the placement date, make sure you keep busy and stay positive. And that you tend to the prospective birthmother’s needs. She’ll be going through a difficult time. See that she feels good about her decision and that she gets all the information and support she needs.
I thought we did a good job staying in touch with our birthmother's needs. We texted often and included her in naming conversations. We tried not to be too overbearing or promise anything we didn't feel comfortable with. Honestly though, I would have done anything for her. After all she was the mother of our child. I was looking forward to a lifelong friendship with her. In the end, I felt like she didn't respect our needs. When things started to go awry, she stopped communication with us. I felt like she wasn't being honest with us. I have a lot of compassion for her and the situation. I can only imagine what's she was going through, but us not knowing what was going on was hard for me. I expected more. Her mother finally texted us to say the father was going to parent. Yes, a text. Live and learn.
Head on over to America Adopts, there is a wealth of information to help you on your adoption journey. Thanks for letting me share your list!