Building a relationship with birth parents is not any different than starting a new friendship. Birth parents are human, and they want to know adoptive parents are human too. The gap between adoptive parents and birth parents is not the gorge we make it out to be. Building healthy relationships is the foundation of a stable environment for the child, and in the end, that’s what we all want. Here are four simple steps to help you connect with birth parents.
The best way to get to know someone is to ask them a lot of questions. Believe it or not, people enjoy talking about themselves. Everyone has a unique story and everyone has a background. It shows when you take the time to truly get to know a birth parent. Focusing your questions and attention only to their baby sends a message that you don’t care who they are as a person.
Building trust is being honest with your words and honest with your time. Be where you will say you will be and do as you say you will do. It can be as simple as setting a time to FaceTime or Skype—be on time and do your best to not reschedule. It is always a good idea to underpromise and over-deliver in every scenario. Creating an adoption plan for your child is a shaky and insecure place to be. Do everything you can to establish stability, comfort, and understanding.
The most important thing in a conversation is feeling understood and connected. And to do so, you have to listen. Allow them to talk while you stay open and listen to everything they are saying. Also, be aware of how you feel during your conversations. The only way to relate to a birth parent is not through their opinion or their story. It is by the feeling they are putting out. Often birth parents will put on a front. Listen to your instincts. Stay judgment-free, humble, and genuine. Do your best to focus on connecting and not just the end goal of making a match.
That being said, birth parents watch TV, movies, and listen to music, just like you. You most likely have much more in common than either of you realize. Not every interaction has to be serious and about the task at hand. Relate to each other on other areas of your life that have nothing to do with adoption.
Get Out of Your Head
Overthinking comes from a place of fear. Stop thinking about everything that could go wrong and focus on what will go right. Realize you can’t predict the future and you may build several relationships with birth parents before finding a match. Accept who you are, who they are, and trust in divine timing. Be yourself and allow them to be who they are and soon you’ll find yourself building friendships everywhere you go.