How a Match Happens: Behind the Curtain

As we share our good news, it’s come to our attention that people may not understand what the matching process feels like. To those who are not parents, birth parents or the child involved, I sense it may look like,

TA DA! We’re getting a baby!

On the inside, a lot more happens. Both sides get limited information to look over about the other: for us, we see a social and medical background that includes family medical history and as much biographical detail as the potential birthmom feels comfortable sharing. We provide a 20-page book full of descriptions of us and our life, accompanied by tons of photos.

After poring over the profiles, the potential birth mom/parents and the adoptive parents express interest in each other. That’s what usually takes a while. Then the agency usually lines up a call and we all get 20-30 minutes to see how we feel about each other ‘live’, ask a few gentle questions, and express anything we want to share. After the call, both parties decide definitively whether this is the match for them. We then communicate that to the agency representative. If both parties say yes, we sign contracts, approve budget, and set up communication channels. The match is set. As you can see, it’s a tenuous first contact!

From that initial conversation, we’ll follow up with a face-to-face meeting hopefully in September/October. Closer to the due date, we’ll discuses her preferences: can we be there when the baby’s born? Would she like time with the baby alone before we take custody? Would she like privacy? In the meantime, we hope she’s firmly decided to move forward, as we’re super excited. Until the papers are signed, excitement can be devastating.

We’ll also discuss how we’ll stay in touch after the birth. Right now, we blog and send photobooks to our moms on Mother’s Day. We exchange emails/texts from time to time, and love getting photos and updates on how they’re doing, too. We’re hoping that pattern meets S’ expectations.

Since sharing our news, we’ve gotten a lot of interested and supportive questions, as well as a few prying questions – questions that we assumed most people who see us regularly would know better than to ask. The child’s story we share with our community is one we feel they will be comfortable with and that we are comfortable with. We may have more detail and we may not. Any embellishments beyond what we share simply aren’t yours for the asking.

We don’t interrogate potential birthmoms. These women are going through hell to protect their child before birth by choosing a better life. The level of love and emotional upheaval involved in that decision dictates respect and support. Our curiousity will have its day, or won’t. Really, the only person who deserves to ask intimate questions of a birthmom is their child. When our kids ask questions later, we will listen if they share with us.

We’re overjoyed to be matched with S. She’s heroic in our eyes, and someone we’d be happy to be friends with, adoption aside. Please don’t take this post as an indication that we don’t want to talk about adoption – even open adoption. But keep in mind how delicate these situations are, and what circumstances would inspire a mother to choose adoption for her child in the first place. Ask yourself: is your question idle curiousity or support for the adopting family or potential birth mom? Thank you to everyone who chooses the latter. And if someone announces they’ve got a match? The correct response is

Congratulations!