Adoptive Families Blog

What You Need to Know About Talking to a Birth Mother

Posted by Lifetime Adoption on December 18, 2017

adoptive mother talking with a birth motherIt’s both thrilling and nerve-wracking to get ready for your first phone call with a birth mother! Many adoptive couples have shared with us that they were very nervous when they talked to their birth mother for the first time. 

Today, Lifetime is sharing 7 pieces of advice when meeting a birth mother on the phone for the first time!

1. Plan Ahead

Being prepared can help you calm your nerves. Brainstorm with your spouse to get a list of a few things that you'd like to share with the birth mother. Take a look at this conversation from her point-of-view. If you were pregnant and making an adoption plan for your baby, what would you ask the possible parents of your baby? Consider role-playing a possible discussion to get ready for the call. 

2. Remember Phone Manners

Don’t have your phone in speaker mode during the call. Not only is it impersonal, but it also makes the birth mother feel as if she's being grilled. Avoid having your spouse listen in on another phone without her knowledge. Doing so starts your relationship off on the wrong foot.

3. Try to Relax 

Take a deep breath, and let her know that you’re thrilled to talk with her. It’s important to let her know you’re very excited about becoming parents.

She's probably nervous, too, so consider letting her know you're feeling anxious. It'll help her relate to you. During your call, remain cheerful and positive. It's nice for her to hear from someone who's excited, because everyone in her life may be disappointed in her for getting pregnant.

4. Focus on Her

Before your phone call, think about where she's coming from. She might have some fears about talking to potential adoptive parents, such as "they’ll be smart, and I'm going to say something really dumb," "they'll assume I'm doing drugs" or "they’ll think I’m overweight."

Lifetime's Founder (and adoptive mother) Mardie Caldwell shares: "Encourage her to share her fears and anxieties. The more you let her talk and the more you listen, the more comfortable you’ll feel. Let her talk at her own pace; you have plenty of time…"

5. Avoid Certain Questions

Some questions are inappropriate to ask during this first phone call. So that you don't come off as rude, picky, or nosy, avoid asking her: 

  • Are you totally sure you’re doing adoption, and you won’t change your mind?
  • Are you doing adoption because your baby’s father wouldn’t get married?
  • Is this pregnancy the result of rape?
  • Have you been taking any drugs during your pregnancy?
  • Do you know who the father of your baby is?

At Lifetime, we share all of the details about the adoption situation with you before the phone call. If you're wondering about something but aren't sure if it’s OK to ask, check in with your adoption professional. They have probably already asked her. And if not, it's for the best that your adoption professional asks sensitive questions, and not you.

6. Answer Her Questions

See if she has any questions for you. Be prepared for her to ask questions that might seem blunt to you, like "How old are you?" and "Have you ever been divorced?" Answer her honestly and kindly. To get an idea of what she might ask you, we encourage you to take a look at this post over on our Birth Parent blog: "Find an Adoptive Family? Questions to Ask Them."

7. End on a Positive Note

As your call comes to a close, wrap it up in a positive tone. Let her know you've enjoyed talking with her, and that you hope you can get to know each other. But, whatever she decides, you wish the best for her. You're empowering her by putting the ball in her court. Share that you’re ready to move forward if she'd like to.

Ask her if there’s anything she wanted to talk about that you hadn’t. Some women aren't open about their situation, but that doesn't mean she’s not serious about adoption. The main thing a birth mother is looking for is that you’ll be loving and stable parents to her child.

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Topics: Talking to Birthmothers, Birth Mothers, birth mom, relationship with birth mother, adoption match