The Matching Process for Domestic Infant Adoption
Working as a pregnancy counselor and clinical support specialist for our waiting families, I am tasked with a unique and fulfilling responsibility. I work with the birth parents to help bring their adoption plan to fruition, and that includes showing them the profile books that our waiting families have created. I also support our waiting families as they prepare to be matched, during their match, and during the post-adoption interactions with the birth families.
During my work with a birth parent, I gather information about who they are, their interests and hobbies, their circumstances surrounding making an adoption plan, health history, and placement preferences. Birth parents play an integral role in the matching process as most often, it is the birth parent(s) that is selecting the adoptive family.
Getting to Know the Families:
As the social worker tasked with showing the birth parent(s) the profile books, I also take the time to know our waiting families as best as I can, whether that is through in-person meetings, or through a very detailed review of their home study. This allows me to have better insight into situations that a prospective family might be best prepared or best suited to parent. Some of the factors that I consider include a waiting family’s openness to specific races, prenatal substance exposure levels, mental illness in birth parent(s) background, and medical issues for the child. Additionally, the birth parents’ preferences play a large part, as well. Some of this might include their own openness to certain races, sexual orientation, family constructs (single or two-parent household), religion, prospective families that are already parenting a child, etc.
Match selection meetings with birth parent(s) can occur at different points in the process, as birth parent(s) engage with us during various stages in their pregnancy. Birth parents often feel most ready to select a prospective family during their third trimester, but this timing can remain fluid as I make every effort to be attentive to where a birth parent might be emotionally. It is important for me to stay attune to what a birth parent needs, and what would best support their process.
Making a Profile Selection:
Prospective families engage in deeply creative and reflective work to develop their profile book that I would later show to birth parents who are interested in making an adoption plan. Before showing the books, I consider the circumstances of the pregnancy as well as the desires of the birth parents. Books of prospective families are shown to the birth parent(s) where birth parent(s) and adoptive parent(s) preferences align. I sit with the birth parent(s) as they review the books and answer questions they may have, as well as discuss their thoughts on the profiles they are reviewing. In looking at the profiles, birth parent(s) often feel a strong connection to a particular waiting family and this connection could be triggered by anything seen in a profile book. For example, it could be from a fishing trip a prospective family went on, or a pet they have, or cuisine they are dining on, or a sports team they like. It could even be triggered by different personal touches waiting parents have made in their letter to birth parents in their profile book or a relationship timeline that waiting parents included, or the consistent involvement of extended family that is seen in a profile. No matter what it is, a family profile will speak to a birth parent(s) and a match is on its way! For this reason, we encourage prospective families to be authentically who they are as this will always shine through in their book.
Conducting a Match Meeting:
Most often, the birth parent(s) request to meet with the waiting family they chose during their profile selection meeting. This helps birth parent(s) feel most secure in their plan, as they have the opportunity to build a foundation with the waiting family and begin to envision what the adoption will look if the birth parent(s) move forward with an adoption plan.
Both birth parent(s) and prospective parent(s) have the ability to process their feelings, thoughts, concerns, and emotions with me to help navigate through all the next steps that come with being MATCHED! It’s a fun time. It’s a scary time. But all in all, we ensure that you are well supported during this time.