Qualities to Look for in Adoptive Parents: Figuring Out What Matters to You
You’re unexpectedly pregnant and have made the courageous decision to choose adoption. Now it’s time to make another choice: the adoptive family.
You may have a clear picture of the type of adoptive family you’re looking for. Maybe you have a couple of characteristics in mind that are important to you. Or, you might have no clue where to start. Wherever you are in the process mentally and emotionally, at Adoption Choices of Missouri, we are here to help you as you search for the family that will adopt your baby.
Here is an overview of the matching process and a breakdown of qualities to look for in adoptive parents:
Finding a match
First, your adoption caseworker will send you profiles of adoptive parents waiting to adopt. Rest assured that adoptive parents at Adoption Choices of Missouri must go through background checks, interviews and home studies. These families are qualified and ready to welcome your baby into their homes and hearts.
The provided profiles include photos and information that will allow you to get to know the adoptive parents and figure out if they are a good fit for you. Through “Dear Birth Mother” letters and detailed descriptions, the waiting families share their stories and adoption dreams. You will learn about their lifestyle, education and employment, interests, beliefs and values, hometowns and so on. You will read about their reasons for choosing adoption and learn about the love, life and opportunities they would give your child.
As you browse the profiles of hopeful adoptive parents, you can mull over your options and weigh which qualities matter most to you. Then you will select your child’s adoptive family. After you’ve matched, your caseworker will coordinate communication. You and the adoptive parents will determine how you want to keep in touch during your pregnancy and post placement.
How will you know which family is the right family for you? Remember that this decision is about what matters to you. What type of parent do you want to raise your baby? What kind of life do you envision for your child? You may wish for your child’s life to be similar to yours in ways, or you may imagine a life for them that is totally different. What are your hopes for your baby? For inspiration, here are some ideas and questions to consider as you decide on an adoptive family:
Family type and size
- Adoptive Parent(s): Do you want your child to grow up in a two-parent household? Is it important that your child’s parents are married? How long have they been in a relationship? Do you want an LGBTQ family to adopt your baby? How do you feel about a single parent raising your child?
- Other children: Do you want your child to be an only child? Or do you want your child to grow up with siblings? How many siblings? Does the family already have children? Does it matter to you if the family’s other children are biological or adopted? Does the family have plans to grow their family? Do you want the family to have had previous experience with adoption?
- Extended family: Are the adoptive parents close with their parents and siblings? Do you want your child to have grandparents who are actively involved in their life? Is a big extended family of aunts and uncles and cousins important to you? Would you like for the adoptive family to live near their relatives?
- Pets: Do you want your child to grow up in a family with a dog or cat or other pet?
Do you have a preference for adoptive parents who are about the same age as you? A little older? A little younger?
Education and employment
You may want to consider the adoptive parents’ education level. Does it matter to you if they graduated from college or have an advanced degree?
What do the adoptive family members do for a living? Will they be able to provide financial stability for your child and what opportunities will they be able to give your child? How much do they work? Do they work from home? Would you prefer for your child to be raised by at least one stay-at-home parent?
Race, ethnicity, and culture
Do you want the adoptive parents to share the same race and/or ethnicity as your child? Or are you open to a transracial adoption? Would you like the adoptive family to be bilingual?
Views, values, and beliefs
Is it important to you that the adoptive family has values and worldviews that are similar to yours? Do you want your child to grow up in a faith-based household?
Hometown and home
Where does the adoptive family live? Depending on the level of openness you prefer and your comfort level, you may or may not want the adoptive parents to live in the same town or state.
Is their home in a rural area or do they live in the city? Do they live by the ocean or the mountains? Do they live in a neighborhood with other families with young children? Are there good schools in their district? Are there nearby parks or museums?
What is their home like? Do they live in a big house, a condo or an apartment? Do they have a backyard?
Hobbies, interests and social life
What does the adoptive family do for fun? Do they spend a lot of time outdoors? Do they play sports? Do they have family game nights? How do they celebrate birthdays and holidays? Do they travel? Do they love going to the movies? Reading? What do they like to do with their friends?
What is their parenting style? What values will they teach your child? How will they express their love and support? What traits make them a great parent? If they already have children, what has their parenting experience been like?
Why are they choosing to adopt? What sort of relationship do they envision with you, the birth mother?
How do they describe themselves? What is their character like?
Qualities to look for in adoptive parents:
These are just a few ideas and questions to think about as you look through adoptive family profiles. Some qualities may be really important to you; others may not matter so much. There are no right answers or opinions. Trust and respect your instincts. Do you feel like you connect with this adoptive family? Do you feel confident that they will provide your child with a loving and fulfilling life? As you figure out which qualities to look for in adoptive parents, you are one step closer to your adoption success story.
Meet the Author: Zoë Bowlus, a writing and editing enthusiast, considers herself a grammar groupie and suffers from a weakness for wordplay and working with words, whether she is reading, furiously typing away, playing Words with Friends, or filling in the Sunday New York Times crossword puzzle.
She was adopted from Vietnam as a baby and began exploring her adoptee identity in Asian American Studies and Communication courses at UC Santa Barbara. As she combed through adoption literature for her last essay of college (she graduated with highest honors in 2020), she was inspired to use the research, editing, and writing skills she developed in college and her personal experience to create resources and share stories about adoption in a professional context. Writing for Adoption Choices, Zoë hopes to support people on their adoption journeys and to grow as an adoptee herself.
Zoë is an aspiring cat lady who is allergic to cats. She enjoys curling up with homemade hot chocolate, kettle corn, and a good book but laments the absence of a feline reading companion. Her bedside table and bookshelves are overflowing with World War II historical fiction, Asian American and Mexico-U.S. borderlands fiction, contemporary fiction, grammar and style books, and collections of profiles. She spends an inordinate amount of time playing bridge.
An avid NBA fan, Zoë lives in Sacramento, the primary reason anyone would root for the Kings. She holds out hope that they will make it to the playoffs during her lifetime.