Can you choose the perfect family when you choose adoption for your unplanned pregnancy? Is there such a thing as a “perfect” family? Is the “perfect” family as elusive a the Loch Ness Monster or unicorns? For me, the “perfect” family meant that they are better than the family a child is being born into.
In my situation, this was an unexpected pregnancy, to say the least. I was 20 years old when I had the pregnancy confirmed. From that moment, I had planned to raise her myself. I knew it would be difficult, I just wasn’t aware of how difficult it would be before she was even born. The biological dad didn’t want to help raise her, and I wasn’t having an abortion. I was still living at home with my parents and younger sibling and was very unhappy. This was NOT the “perfect” family. She deserved more, so I chose to place her for adoption.
When I was asked, to pretty much build the “perfect” family, I was unsure what that meant. It meant to list the qualities I wanted my child’s future parents to have. It took me a couple of days to finalize that list and give it to the adoption agency. I wanted to make sure it was just right. From this list, and what the bio dad and I looked like, I was paired with three couples. Six people. What if I liked the wife, but not the husband, or vice versa? What if I didn’t like their professions? How would I be able to pick out the “perfect” couple?
In my circumstances, the adoptive parents write a letter to potential birth mothers, giving a bit of information on themselves, their struggles to have a child, why they’d love your child, what they do for a living, etc. I must’ve read those letters at least 30 times each. Each time I had the same gut reaction as I did the first time I read the letters. The first two letters, to me, sounded very business-like. I’m sure it wasn’t their intention, but it seemed as if it was a business transaction–cold, distant, but straight to the point.
The third letter grabbed my heart from the very start. Originally, I had decided as soon as I read the third letter. Though I knew it was too big of a decision to not read them all, and multiple times. This couple was genuine and open with all they had been through in their quest for a child. On paper they were “perfect.” Now to meet them in person. I was not disappointed!! They were even better in person. I went home after meeting them and told my parents how perfect they were. They were the right couple to raise my daughter as their own.
When I handed them their beautiful baby girl, I immediately saw the love they had for her. The love they had, was not only for her, but for me as well. It was amazing and beautiful. This was the “perfect” family. They had all the qualities I hoped for, loved this little girl as if biologically she was their own, loved me, and sent me updates on her life.
Fast forward and I found out things about the family dynamics–as a couple and as a family. I started feeling guilty and wondering if I had truly picked the right family for my child. Was this really the “perfect” family? NO! It wasn’t! There is not one family that is perfect. Every family has something.
No matter what the dynamics are in my daughter’s family, I know that her mom has done everything to give her the best life she could possibly have. My daughter certainly has a better life than I could’ve given her, at the time. To me, that’s what makes a “perfect” family.
If you’re in the placement process, here are a few things I learned:
- Don’t put unattainable expectations on you or the prospective adoptive parents.
- Be as open as you can be with the couple that you pick. They have fears and concerns, just like you.
- Use an agency/lawyer that treats you like a person and not like money in the bank.
- Go with your gut (and cautiously with your heart). If it doesn’t seem right, speak up.
- Don’t let anyone tell you that your feelings aren’t valid because you’re placing your child for adoption.