As I searched through hundreds of hopeful adoptive couple profiles, I realized my decision to place my daughter for adoption was based on a promise. A promise from strangers: “We promise to love your child unconditionally.” Reading the same sentence over and over again, from people I had never met before. My task was to find the one couple I could trust to keep that promise.
As you can imagine, a task such as this is daunting and fogged with every heavy emotion we experience as humans—grief, self-doubt, criticism, judgment, guilt, and shame. In the middle of navigating these emotions, I was asked to find a couple who would undoubtingly do what they claimed in their adoption profile. As an adoptive couple, the importance of keeping your promises (including what you write in your profile) is the foundation of your relationship with birth parents. Trust is built by being true to your word and following through with your actions. When promises are broken or birth parents are misled, trust is broken.
When birth parents are looking through profiles, they are vulnerable. They are blindly searching for who will care for their child. There are no books or guidelines for this type of decision. There is no checklist or how to. They are relying on you, as an adoptive couple, to be honest, to be true to your word, to keep your promises. It is all they ask of you.
As a hopeful adoptive couple, keep this in mind as you create your profile. Keep in mind the headspace where birth parents are as they read your promises. As you write your promises, ask yourself, can you keep them? Not just in this moment, when you are wanting to be matched, but for the rest of your life; the rest of this child’s life? As a birth parent, I am promising to love my child in a way most mothers are not asked to do. I am promising to place my child in an adoptive couple’s arms and do all that I can to support that growing relationship, in a healthy way. It is and will continue to be one of the hardest things I have ever done, but I do it because I’m keeping my promise to love my child unconditionally. Be cautiously aware of what you promise. If you can’t keep it, don’t make it.