Building a friendship first hand with a birth mom can be vital to the type of relationship you will have moving forward. Knowing what to ask, in those early stages of placement, can create a firm foundation for everyone involved. Often this is new territory not only for the adoptive family but also for the birth mom who is about to put her baby for adoption. You don’t want to come across as insensitive, but let’s be honest, you’ve never done this before, and you’re nervous you might say the “wrong” thing.
A friend of mine once told me, people love to talk about themselves. If you get nervous, ask the other person a lot of questions, and it will help you both feel more relaxed. I have used this tactic several times in social gatherings, business meetings, and with complete strangers. It works like a charm! Keep this in mind when you’re in conversation with a birth mom. Ask her a lot of questions about herself, but not about adoption in general. Here are a few appropriate questions to get you started.
Questions to ask in the beginning:
- How are you feeling?
- Do you have siblings?
- What can we do to comfort you?
- What do you like to do?
- Tell me more about you.
- Are you close to your family?
- Do you have a support group?
These are all questions that center around who this birth mom is as a person. When you meet someone for the first time, there is a flood of questions and topics you can discuss. Get to know her. Who is she? What does she enjoy? There is appropriate adoption related questions, which you can ask, as you move further into your adoption journey.
Adoption questions that are appropriate to ask:
- How do you feel about your decision to place your baby?
- Do you have any request for us?
- Are there any family traditions that you would like us to carry forward?
- Do you have any questions for us?
Your tone, your energy, and how you approach your questions will play a significant role in how comfortable she will be. Come forward with no judgment, or expectations, and remember if something feels “off” maybe it is. Your decision to move forward with a birth mom has merit. Trust your instincts and have faith that you will know when it feels right.
Questions to stay away from:
- Have you been using drugs or alcohol during your pregnancy?
- Who is the father?
- Have you been pregnant before?
- Do you think you’ll change your mind?
- Do you think the father will try and stop you from placing?
The questions above are why you find a fantastic adoption agency or private lawyer who are trained to ask these questions properly. If you have concerns about the answers to these questions, speak with your social worker. Worry less about sensitive queries and work on building a friendship with the birth mom.
An unplanned pregnancy can be the loneliest time in a birth mom’s life. She has most likely lost friends, family, and support. Create a comfortable place for her to be herself. Ask her questions about who she is, what she wants to do after placement, and build a bond that will last a lifetime. Birth moms are just like you; they want what we all want, support, encouragement, friendship, and love.