Adoption is a positive option for hopeful parents looking to grow their family. If you are hoping to adopt, you may be asking yourself if you have what it takes to start the process. You may be wondering, “What do adoption agencies look for in adoptive parents?” as well as “What do they require?” Like many prospective parents, you may also question what birth mothers are looking for in parents for their baby. As you start the adoption process, and begin your adoptive family profile, these are all important questions to ask. Adoptions With Love can help. Here, we explore the qualities (and necessities) families should fulfill before starting the adoption process.
What Adoption Agencies Need to See in a Family
Just as no two families are exactly alike, there is no one quality that makes a family great. There are, of course, some common characteristics that will make a prospective adoptive family shine and stand out: responsible, loving, and stable, just to name a few. This is what adoption agencies want to see when they meet with an adoptive family. However, what exactly do they need to see?
In order to adopt a child, certain state requirements must be met. Adoptions With Love works with hopeful families in Massachusetts. Here, the prospective parent(s) must be at least 21 years old to adopt. If married, both spouses must be a part of the adoption. Adoptions With Love requires that if you are adopting as a couple, you must be married. Before adopting in Massachusetts, background checks and a thorough home study must be completed by a licensed adoption agency. This process involves a combination of interviews, observation, and documentation, in which the adoption agency will look for:
- The parent’s (or parents’) emotional stability and compatibility
- A stable household financial status
- Positive attitude towards a child’s birth parent(s) and adoption as a whole
- A safe and secure home, and surrounding community, to raise a child
- Parenting ability, including discipline, and the ability to meet the child’s needs
- Medical history for each parent, along with a written statement from a licensed physician for each household member
- Educational and social histories of the parents
- Birth and marriage certificates as well as divorce decrees
- Family composition, including pets
To be approved to adopt in Massachusetts, an adoption agency must find that each member of the household is able to uphold the safety and well-being of the adopted child. This home study includes at least one visit to the home, as well as personal interviews with the immediate family, and at least three references.
What Birth Parents Need to See in an Adoptive Family
Many of the common qualities that birth parents are looking for, such as having a healthy and stable home, are universal and will be the same for everyone. Just think about what you would want for a biological child. You would, of course, want your child to be raised in a safe environment. You would probably want your child’s parents to be patient, kind, and understanding. You would also want to make sure the parents are there, present, and tells your adoption story in a positive light. Some other common qualities that most expectant/birth mothers may look for in an adoptive family include:
- Security – The financial stability to raise a child with plenty of opportunities, as well as stable home life full of positive, supportive relationships
- Respect – Respect for the birth parent(s), respect for the choice to make an adoption plan, and respect of one another’s wishes throughout the process
- Communication – The ability to raise a healthy child with open conversations about adoption, and to communicate with the birth parents as outlined in the adoption plan
- Honesty – Since most adoptions today are open, expectant/birth mothers may be looking for prospective adoptive families who are open to an open adoption. They will also want someone who will share their child’s birth and adoption story honestly and in a positive light.
There are a number of other specific qualities that expectant/birth mothers consider as they search for an adoptive family, which you can read about here. Many of these will be dependent on her preferences and dreams for her child. Some women may consider the family’s make-up (are there pets, or siblings?) or interests and hobbies. Others may put religion or ethnic background at the top of their must-have list.
Specific demands such as these will be hard for many families to meet. While you cannot control what an expectant/birth mother deems important, you can do your part to make the most of this opportunity. You will want to make your adoptive parent profile stand out. You will want to showcase the best of yourself and your family, and all of the love and care your home will provide. This is what will help you connect with the right birth mother and child.
The “Je ne sais quoi”
Quality characteristics aside, there are adoptive families that an expectant/birth mother will take notice of while browsing through the profiles. Sometimes, these stand-out profiles may feel random. An expectant/birth mother may have a hard time putting into words what exactly makes their profile shine. This may be the “je ne sais quoi” – the “I don’t know what” – but it is something that is appealing.
Perhaps this kind of attraction is pulled from the honesty of a family’s profile. Perhaps, when you openly share your love story, family background, nerdy musical instrument collection, a Halloween costume and absurd love of Billy Joel – your unique personality shines through. This honesty may help give you some “realness” and let an expectant/birth mother know you. Perhaps your silly love for sloths may just help showcase your funny persona, giving a mother what she really needs: The ability to see her child living happily in your home.
If you are looking to grow your family through adoption and live in Massachusetts, please reach out to Adoptions With Love any time for information about the process. We have been helping adoptive families in MA for more than 33 years, and work tirelessly to help place children in safe and loving homes. Call us at 617-964-4357, or visit us online: https://adoptionswithlove.org/contact-us.