What to Expect When You Are Expecting: Choosing an Adoptive Family

What to Expect When You Are Expecting: Choosing an Adoptive Family

Choosing a prospective adoptive family is a big step in the adoption process. It’s normal to have a range of emotions from feeling nervous, excited, and unsure. Oftentimes, this step helps expectant parents affirm their plan to place their child for adoption. Remember, you are still in control of how this process goes. Your social worker will walk through each step with you, supporting you along the way.

Step One

The first step is to think about your own values and what you’re looking for in an adoptive family. Your social worker will help you think through what to consider, such as openness in adoption and other specifics about your ideal family. It is okay if you aren’t sure what you are looking for in a prospective adoptive family. We will discuss your options to help you make an informed decision.


Openness is an ongoing relationship between you and the adoptive family throughout the child’s life. Open adoptions range in the of level of contact between the birth and adoptive family. At New Life Adoptions, adoptive families also receive education on openness and the benefits of open adoption for everyone involved. It’s important to talk about your openness preferences with your social worker so that we can help match you to a family with a similar desire for openness.

It is common for openness to start out small and grow over time as your relationship with the adoptive family grows. Your social worker will help you think through openness in the short and long term. After your baby is born, we will help you and the adoptive family complete an openness agreement.

Other Preferences

In addition to openness, your social worker will also help you think through other preferences you’d like to have in an adoptive family. This can include the adoptive parents’ ages, their education level, where they live (such as a rural versus a suburban area), and if they have other children, whether biological or adopted. Remember, this is your adoption plan so it’s important to be honest about your preferences. It’s also okay to not have any specific preferences.

Viewing Profiles

Based on your preferences, you’ll receive waiting family profiles that are a match. Waiting families make profile books that show a snapshot of their lives. These books include pictures of themselves and their extended families, their home and community, and information about their values, hobbies, and their desired level of openness. You can review these profiles with your social worker and share them with other supportive people in your life.

Meeting a Family

If you’d like to meet a family, your social worker will coordinate an in-person meeting with them. You’re welcome to bring a support person to this meeting. Your social worker will help guide the conversation during the meeting, but asking a family questions is a great way to see if they are the family you want to place your child with.

You may choose to have more than one meeting with a specific family or choose to meet with multiple families before deciding which family is right for you and your child.  Once you’ve chosen a family, they are not available to other expectant parents in the adoption process. After choosing a family, you may mutually decide to exchange identifying information such as last names, phone numbers or email addresses. You will continue to get to know each other before your baby is born.

Support is Available

We understand that choosing an adoptive family is a big decision. It’s important that you feel confident in the family you choose for your child. Take time to consider your values and preferences as you look at potential adoptive families. It can be helpful to discuss this with others who are close to you, and who know you well, such as your family and friends. We are here to support you each step of the way to make sure you feel in control throughout the process.

If you have not started the adoption process yet, contact one of our Expectant Parent Social Workers to get started!