As a Bmom just starting the rather exhausting journey to find a pair of adoptive parents, my biggest tip is to be careful of the impression you put across. The agency we're working with has a big folder of hopeful parents, each with a 'dear birthmom' letter attached. Be careful what you put in these! I cannot stress this enough. the father and I skipped past nearly a dozen letters without a second glance because the person writing either didnt take into account the fact that the person reading them wants to find a home for their child, or clearly didn't care about the birthmom's feelings.
If you write one of these letters, please remember that the woman or couple looking at them is not looking for a new friend, or someone they would want to hang out with on the weekend. They are looking for good, caring, strong parents. (This is from an actual letter we read) So don't talk about how much you love beer and partying late on weekends.
Also, be respectful to birth-parents, and don't make assumptions. While its true that some people give up their children because they don't 'want' them, most of us are going through this process because of the deep love we carry for our children.
For prospective adoptive parents;
DON'T BE A BULLY! DON'T BE DEMANDING!
Realize that a baby is a gift. If the mother wants to name her baby, let her. If she wants to nurse her baby, let her. If she insist you do something for her child throughout its life, do it. Don't lie to her. Don't feed her false promises. And don't betray the trust she is instilling in you by letting you raise her child.
This is my short list of things I wish could have or should have been different in my adoption.
#1 Celebrating Gotcha day.
Celebrating the day child lost who child was meant to be ,Never made sense to me. Just another way to make child different.
#2 Adoption is a gift..... You were chosen...... You were my gift.....
Adoption is no gift. Adoption is loss. We are not chosen we just happen to be next in line.
#3 That mother loved me enough to give me up. What a mixed message. People who love you leave you with people you don't have any bond or history with? Mother loved me but relinquished out of desperation not love.
She was not selfless or brave just desperate.
#4 Blank slates theory . We have a history.
#5 I was and still am a great people pleaser and actress . Confused and hurting but afraid to say for fear of disappointing the ones I was expected to be grateful to. Still today every one in my Afam would tell you I'm fine with my adoption. No pain no problems.
#6 My whole entire afamily still introduces me as the adopted child of, My adopted niece, My adopted cousin..... As if to explain why I might be different from them. Makes me crazy.
#7 Always remember what was lost.
Your baby is not a tabula rosa, a blank slate. She will grieve her mother's smell, her mother's voice, her mother -- even if her mother was a crack addict prostitute.
Do not take your agency's word that they are ethical, do your homework particularly if it means digging a lot. Do not depend on religion, happy adoptive parents, or number of adoptions. Agencies, even ethical ones, earn revenue off of infant adoptions. Dig for people who have worked there, blog comments. Get their stories. You do not want to buy a child whose mother was coerced into relinquishing.
If you are in an open adoption, for chrissakes, honor your child's first mother, her feelings, and the agreements you made with her.
Read EJ Graff's investigative journalism on international adoption http://www.brandeis.edu/investigate/selectedwork/index.html if you are considering adopting internationally. Take it seriously. Please.
The WORST feeling for me as an adult adoptee is the feeling of being treated as a commodity -- a healthy white girl, bought and sold-- and only a tiny fraction of the money you used to bring me into your home could have supported my mother and me quite well. I believe you adopted me to feel good about yourself, as a replacement for your ghost child, or as a cure for your infertility. You think you treated me like "your child" and at the very least I should be grateful... at least I didn't have to live in poverty. I think, if you really loved me, you would have helped my mother and me stay together. I miss her and you don't, you can't, you won't understand.
My hurt and grief are more important than yours. I am the one for whom this transaction is purportedly in my best interest. Don't forget it.