Interview with birth parents Jessica and Michael*
Background: Jessica is 5 months pregnant and due in January. She and Michael are making this adoption plan together. They are already parenting two small children and decided that they can’t afford to take care of any more children. They are matched. Adoptions of Wisconsin’s Claire Schulz Bergman sat down with Jessica and Michael to interview them about the adoption process.
Q: What surprised you about the adoption process so far?
A (Jessica): The process was easier than I thought. I expected a lot of paperwork and to have to meet a lot of people. All I wanted was a loving couple for my baby. I wanted a family without kids who was financially stable and had steady jobs. I looked through the profiles that you gave me and decided to meet two couples. Both were great, we just connected with one more than the other.
(Michael): I felt “relief” when we matched because we didn’t have to worry anymore. We didn’t have to worry that we wouldn’t find anybody and end up having to care for a child we couldn’t afford. We wanted people who were honest and genuine to take care of our baby and we really think we’ve found them.
Q: Why did you feel more connected to the couple you chose?
A (Michael): They were more “like us.” They were really easy to talk to and made us feel at ease.
Q: You have spent some time with and communicated with the couple you chose since you initially met them. What has it been like for you to have contact via phone/text and spend time together with them?
A (Jessica): This really helped us because it feels like they are who they say they are. We feel like we can trust them and share in their excitement of becoming new parents. We went to a park with them to introduce our other kids to them and it was great watching them interact with our kids. They jumped right in and started playing with them. It showed us what they’d be like with this baby (that they are going to adopt). We want to have visits in the future because we want our kids to know this baby and getting together with them was a glimpse of what it would be like in the future when we get together for a play date.
We also went to the ultrasound together and found out what the sex of the baby is. It was really fun watching them see the baby for the first time. This is their first baby and they’ve never been through an ultrasound before.
We text frequently and I am able to ease my worries by telling them what I would do if I was going to care for him (like, buying footed pjs, recommending formula that worked for my other kids, etc.). It helps me feel like I can also prepare for his arrival and get excited with them.
Q: Are you starting to feel attached to your baby?
A (Jessica): Yes. How could I not be attached, he’s growing inside me! I love him and am doing adoption because I know I can’t provide for him and they can. I know he will be taken care of and getting to know them [the APs] better helps me really know this.
(Michael): I’m getting more attached than I probably should be. But, I know that doing adoption will be better for our other kids, too, and open adoption will allow our other kids to know this one.
Q: Do you have any fears about the adoption process?
A (Jessica): The usual parent worries, I just want to make sure that the APs are prepared.
Q: What advice would you give to others considering placing their child for adoption?
A (Jessica): Think of the baby. Meet as many families as you need to so that you can find the best one. Have enough time so that you can build a relationship with the adoptive parents before your baby is born. Have a few questions that you know you want the answer to at the first meeting, but don’t be overly structured about it.
(Michael): Have an open heart and an open mind. Keep the baby’s best interest first. Be honest with yourself, what is best for the child?
Q: Anything else you’d like to add?
A (Jessica): The APs have become an extension of our family. Since we’re getting to know them, they aren’t just people who are going to take care of our baby, they are like extended family members. This is what we wanted and I really believe that this is how it’s going to be.
(later Jessica texted this to me): I was thinking back on our first meeting with you and you made it really easy and pleasant. When I first made the call to the agency and was going to meet with you, I was kind of nervous that you would be someone like a case worker… up tight and straight corners… but you weren’t. Meeting you and having someone like you for this process has made it a lot easier in this whole thing.
*Not their real names