For many, meeting new people can cause anxiety and awkwardness, but an adoption match meeting can cause anxiety for even the most outgoing of personalities! There is so much at stake for everyone that the experience can be a real source of concern for both the birthmother and the possible adoptive parents. Putting the experience into perspective, really knowing yourself, and leaning on your adoption caseworker for the hard stuff can help put your mind at ease.
If you’re a birth mother, you may be concerned about the couple judging you or possibly rejecting your gift of adoption. If you’re a prospective adoptive family you are likely worried about being good enough or if you are what she is looking for. It is safe to say that EVERYONE in that meeting is worried, nervous, and self-conscious.
By merely pointing out that we are nervous usually gets everyone else agreeing about their nerves too. That honesty usually gets someone to laugh and real conversation can begin.
Being yourself, and not attempting to be something you think the other person wants, is a perspective that is of utmost importance. This meeting isn’t about selling yourself to the other person. This meeting is learning about each other and exploring if we have a match. In order for someone to learn about you; you must have some idea how to express your feelings about adoption and all the aspects that relate to it.
It’s important to think about the various topics and design the messaging you want to convey; not in a rehearsed way, but in a way that shows you have thought about the answers to some tough questions. Even the easy questions, like tell me about yourself, should be thought through to some degree by deciding what would be some important aspects of your life that you would like to cover; work, family life, education, vacations, hobbies, religion or maybe some other aspect of your life.
It is critical that prospective adoptive parents have discussed with each other some of the more controversial topics and have come to some agreement on their answers. For instance, how open is the couple to stay in relationship with birth mom on an ongoing basis? How open is the couple to allowing the birth mother to name her baby? How willing is the adoptive couple to having ongoing meetings before the birth of the baby? How willing is the adoptive couple to be present during birth?
During a match meeting the caseworker is likely the only person in the room who has done this before. He or she will have an agenda and will help guide the discussion. An Adoption Caseworker can provide you with some guidance prior to the meeting and provide a list of possible questions for you in advance so you feel more prepared.
A good Adoption Caseworker is going to use a little humor to lighten the mood in the room, and then will get down to the serious business of getting you to talk to each other and reveal your true selves and ideas about family life and adoption. Your job, is to be yourself and know your opinions and possible limitations as well.
If you are able to walk out of a match meeting feeling like you had a good conversation and got to know the details of the situation and that you were able to represent your family honestly, then you just had a successful meeting regardless of who she selects to be parents of her child. We can’t be anything but ourselves. If she is seeking something else, then you were not the parents intended for this child. That does not mean you are not exactly what another birth mom is seeking. All in God’s good time.