Talking with an adoptive family is a big step, but preparing doesn’t have to be. In this article we will share questions to start the conversation, questions to dig deeper with, questions to avoid, and tips on how to keep the conversation going and build the best relationship possible with your chosen adoptive family.
You can also get tips and guidance from a trained adoption professional or get connected with an adoptive family through an adoption agency.
5 Tips for Talking With Adoptive Parents
Figuring out what to ask adoptive parents can be overwhelming at first, but just know that a prospective adoptive family will be thrilled that you’re considering them and eager to answer your questions. Your adoption professional will also be happy to help you sort out what questions you should ask based on what’s important to you in an adoptive family
Tip 1: When you begin the conversation, start with some easier questions until you and the potential adoptive family feel comfortable. Below are some beginning questions to ask an adoptive family.
Tip 2: Keep the conversation going with open-ended questions.
If you have an idea what to ask adoptive parents but it hasn’t been listed above, try asking about it with a question that can’t be answered with a simple “yes,” “no,” or one word answer.
Example: “How do you value education and what kind of education do you plan to provide for your children?” will often have a longer and more meaningful answer than “Do you plan on sending any children to college?”
Tip 3: Make sure you schedule the conversation for a time when you have some open space in your day. If the call goes well, you may find yourself wanting to talk longer than you expected.
Tip 4: Don’t invite anyone to the conversation who is unsupportive of your adoption plan. This may make the adoptive family and you uncomfortable. Later on, you can bring people who are supportive into conversations.
Tip 5: Rather than making any commitments or promises in the moment, make sure you take time to reflect after your conversation. A great way to end a conversation with adoptive parents is to say that you have enjoyed getting to know the family and you would like some time to reflect and talk to your adoption professional.
Warm Up Questions to Ask Prospective Adoptive Parents
- Tell me about yourself.
- Do you have any pets?
- Do you have any children? Do you plan on growing your family further?
- What do you like to do with your free time?
- How do you make a living? Do you like what you do?
- What will your work schedules be like? Do you have plans for childcare?
- How did you meet? How would you describe your relationship?
- What are your strengths? And your partner’s?
- What holidays and traditions do you celebrate?
- What are your religious views and/or values? How do you plan to share those with a child?
- What is your extended family like? What is your social group like?
Deeper Questions to Ask Prospective Adoptive Families
- What makes you want to become a parent? What brought you to adoption?
- How has adoption impacted you? Do you know anyone with experience adopting?
- How will you share this child’s adoption story and how will you talk about me?
- What kind of parents do you strive to be? What parenting style do you have?
- What kind of contact and relationship do you want with me after adoption? What are you open to?
Questions to Avoid
- Avoid focusing on previous fertility issues.
For many adoptive families, this can be a sad topic, as many families wait years to have a child. While families might mention it or talk about it, focusing on this extensively can take away from their present journey—and yours.
- Deep questions (at first)
The first time getting to know adoptive families, you will both be curious about each other. Make sure that you are starting with some easier questions before you jump into anything too in depth, as deep questions early on can feel invasive. And don’t be afraid to talk about yourself! Adoptive parents want to get to know you as much as you want to get to know them.
How to Get More Help and Handle Uncomfortable Topics
If you have any questions that you are uncomfortable talking about, or you would like more guidance on conversations with an adoptive family, talking to an adoption professional is a great step. You can contact an adoption professional here.