Calls with Potential Birthmothers

It’s been just over a year since we first sent in our application to the adoption agency who performed our home study.  I’ve shared with you our ups and downs of the process since the beginning.  But, recently, I’ve been struggling with whether to share certain details of our journey, for example, phone calls with potential birth mothers.  Then, I realized the whole point my creating this blog was to help others who are on the same journey, to help provide information to those of you who are thinking about taking the path to adoption and to help others understand what is involved in the decision to adopt.  So, here goes.

Back in early spring, we finally had our first call with a birth mother – shortly followed by second and third calls with 2 additional birth mothers.  I don’t know whether the written word can express the complex feelings I experienced in anticipation of, during and after these calls – a strange mosaic of excitement, nervous fear, hesitant hope, and worry. I don’t think traditional life experience can truly ever prepare you for a call with a person you’ve never met who is trying to decide whether they want you to parent their child.  And I don’t think I need to mention how much pressure you can feel for the call to go well. It’s immense and could negatively impact your interaction, if you allow it.

Our first call was from a birth mother who found our profile on an adoption forum.  She had her decision narrowed down to 2 or 3 families, and we were among them. We had several calls and exchanged several emails. She was in her thirties with two children she and her husband were parenting.  They didn’t want to add another child into an already emotionally and financially strained household and were making an adoption plan. She was difficult to read emotionally and seemed distracted and disconnected most times. After a few weeks of contact, one day she shared that another family had come to their home offering them a huge sum of money, and they were very tempted to take the money in exchange for choosing them as adoptive parents to their child.  She said that the temptation they felt from this offer was something they didn’t expect, and ultimately, she said this feeling led them to decide to parent their child.  She said they didn’t want to feel like they gave their child away for money.  I have to say that I wondered why she told me the details about the cash offer.  I mean, why not just tell us they’d decided to parent the child and call it a day.  It made me wonder if this was an attempt to fish for a corresponding offer – not our style, nor is such a transaction ethical or legal.

The second call was random, received from a teenage birth mom who sounded nervous, fearful and emotional – so very different from the first birth mother I had spoken with.  I immediately wanted to help and protect her from fear or worry. We had a nice conversation and she even agreed to speak to a social worker at our agency to help her sort out her feelings and help her understand her decision. She was very early on in her pregnancy, and the birth father wanted her to have an abortion – something she did not want.  She had also been hoping to go to college in the fall and felt that with a baby, this would never happen. Her grandmother told her to look at and she had found us. We had a couple of conversations, and in the follow-up conversation, she mentioned the baby’s father was rethinking things and was going to try to find a job so he could help raise the child.  Her mother was also offering to raise the child for her til she could get on her feet. We have not spoken since then, so I have to assume that she is biding her time and will decide what to do when the time comes. I truly hope that all goes well for her in life, whatever path she chooses.

We had a brief exchange with a third “birth mother” who found us on a forum. We spoke briefly on the phone and she sent me a flurry of strange text message – my first  impression? She was quite distant, preoccupied with her own story and not very interested in the details about what kind of parents we would be – our first clue.  Turns out, a few days later, this very same birth mother was arrested – there were several charges – I don’t recall the particulars, but she had been scamming loads of hopeful adoptive parents, using a several personas, with images of herself when pregnant a few years back. She had doctored sonograms, and even invited these couples to visit her in her home state.  Sadly, families invested emotional energy, hope and hard-earned money they had saved for valid adoption expenses, flew out to meet her, only to learn from her mother that she was arrested for fraud and a number of other charges.  I am not sure what drives emotional scammers – some say it is the attention they crave, but I think it is more than that.  It is truly evil and mean-spirited to prey on the desperation of others.

I wanted to share some of things I took away from my experience with these calls:

  • Trust your instincts. Ask lots of questions and really listen to the answers.  Understand what is driving the adoption.
  • Try not to imagine a connection when there is none.  Unfortunately, we don’t see the lack of a real connection until we have experienced a true connection by comparison.  Nevertheless, step back and think about what makes the conversations and interactions you have with the birth mother “special” or is it just your hope that is coloring your view.  It is okay to be hopeful, just don’t let it block your true perception.
  • Allow yourself to be hopeful and optimistic. Don’t try to squeeze your size 10 foot fit into into a size 6 shoe.  Be honest and be yourself – and the right match will happen. When a connection comes along – and it will –  you will know because it will just feel RIGHT.

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