Empowering choices: Choosing adoptive parents for your child.

Choosing adoptive parents for your child is a deeply personal and significant decision. We understand adoption is not an easy choice. Firstly, you should know your rights when considering placing a child for adoption.  You have the right to create your own adoption plan based on your comfort levels and wishes. You have the right to choose the adoptive family or request not to choose an adoptive family and have the agency you are working with decide.  Here are some steps and considerations to help guide you through the process of choosing loving, adoptive parents for your child.

Research Adoption Agencies

Select a reputable licensed adoption agency to assist you through the process of choosing a family for your child.  All prospective adoptive families working with a licensed agency are required to complete an adoption home study.  In brief, a home study is a thorough background check on a prospective adoptive family.  Learn about home studies. The agency should then provide you with profiles of prospective adoptive parents who have completed the home study process and are ready to be presented. The agency should offer unbiased support and help you sort through the profiles. Ensure that the agency you are working with is showing you all prospective families that meet your criteria and not just a select few.  If you have connected with a prospective adoptive family through other means, you have every right to request that the family complete a home study.

Review Adoptive Parent Profiles

Adoption agencies typically provide detailed profiles of prospective adoptive parents. At ACI, our prospective adoptive families create their own thoughtful profiles. Our family profiles are physical books that you can view with your counselor. Profiles can also be sent through email in PDF form to allow for more time to review and go back to the profiles.  Most of our families also choose to upload their profiles to our website as well.  Think of the profiles as a snapshot into the family’s life. These profiles often include:

  • Personal backgrounds
  • Photos and videos
  • Letters to the parents considering placing a child for adoption.
  • Descriptions of their home environment
  • Hobbies and interests
  • Parenting philosophies and lifestyles

View ACI waiting families

When Choosing Adoptive Parents, Understand Your Priorities

Reflect on what values and qualities are most important to you. Do the adoptive families you are viewing share those same values and qualities? Some factors you might consider:

  • Parenting style
  • Cultural and religious background
  • Family values
  • Educational philosophy
  • Geographical location
  • Family hobbies and lifestyle 
  • Family structure (single parents, same-sex couples, siblings, etc.)

Meet with the Prospective Parents you Choose.

You should always have the option of arranging a meeting with prospective adoptive parents you choose. This can be done in person, over video calls, or through phone conversations. Your agency counselor can help set this up and is often present during the initial meeting to help guide you through the process.  You are not alone. You can prepare questions that matter to you ahead of time and go over them with your counselor. If you don’t feel comfortable asking them yourself, ask for your counselor to ask during the meeting. Questions could include: 

  • Why do they want to adopt?
  • What are their plans for educating and raising a child?
  • What are their plans for childcare?
  • How do they handle discipline and conflict?
  • What are their openness levels when it comes to contact with birth parents?
  • How will they talk about adoption with the child?
  • What are you most excited about when thinking about becoming parents?

Consider Open vs. Closed Adoption

You and the adoptive family decide what feels right for you.  You all might agree a more open adoption feels right. That contact could include: regular planned visits, connecting via phone calls, texts, emails or social media, getting photos, maybe you would prefer having all contact go through ACI, or maybe you prefer no contact. There is no standard level of communication that is right or wrong for every adoption relationship. It is only the biological parents, adoptive parents, and adoptee that can decide what is best for them.   Regardless of the level of communication, there is always a tie between an adoptee and their biological family.  Learn about why ACI advocates for a new approach, an adoption Extended Family Network.

Trust Your Instincts

Your intuition is crucial. If you feel a strong connection or sense of trust with a particular family, that is significant. The adoptive parents should make you feel comfortable and respected throughout the process.

Take Your Time

This decision does not need to be rushed. Take the time you need to feel confident in your choice. It’s important that you feel at peace with your decision, knowing that you have chosen the best possible parents for your child.

Remember, the choice of adoptive parents is a deeply personal one, and there is no right or wrong answer—only what feels right for you and your child.

05.29.24 by Pam Brown, ACI Expectant Parent Counselor

Pam joined Adoption Center of Illinois in July of 1991. She graduated from the University of Iowa where she earned her bachelor’s degree focusing on psychology, child development and counseling. Pam counsels expectant parents in northern, central and southern Illinois and says that after many years with the agency she still loves her job.