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Most adoption agency websites feature families who are looking to adopt. Viewing online profiles of prospective families and interacting with them can be premature if you haven’t yet decided on adoption and are just trying to get information about how it works. Some people who’ve considered adoption report feeling pressured to look at family profiles right away. And when seeing all the material advantages prospective adoptive parents (PAPs) usually have, they’ve felt less worthy or able to parent their child themselves, even if that’s what they truly want. For others, seeing family profiles right away feels okay and welcome. 

It may not be clear whether PAPs are qualified to adopt. Keep in mind that while forming a direct relationship with PAPs can feel good, matching or even interacting with PAPs early can lead to feelings of duty or guilt if you ever have doubts or change your mind about the adoption. 

Relationships with PAPs are complex, so it’s a good idea to involve a mediator, counselor, or another neutral person, who can help to guide you and the PAPs through the adoption process.

Sometimes people learn about adoption through someone they know. For example, you might talk to a friend who placed a child for adoption, or a family member who adopted a child. Because laws vary from state-to-state, and because each person’s experience is different, it may be a good idea to also seek out other professional sources of information. 

The unfortunate reality is that adoption is a billion-dollar business. Adoption professionals  typically charge large fees to PAPs, and need to place children for adoption to stay in business. It’s important to be aware of this as you navigate the adoption process. And remember, your needs and rights and those of your child come first. 

What should I think about while choosing prospective adoptive parents (PAPs)?

Many adoption professionals will encourage you to view prospective adoptive parent (PAP) profiles as a first step in considering private adoption. This can be too early for you if you’re still weighing your options or searching for information. PAP profiles are often professionally made and showcase many material benefits the PAPs can provide for a child. This can cause some pregnant people to feel as though, in comparison, they’re not good enough to parent their child, even if they’re still considering parenting themselves.  

It’s important to get accurate, comprehensive options counseling as a pregnant person without feeling any pressure to make a decision before you’re ready. The staff at your nearest Planned Parenthood health center can provide judgment-free options counseling or you can call the All Options Talkline

When it comes to PAPs, there are many things to think about, including: 

  • how the PAPs are screened and vetted by the adoption professionals 
  • how the PAPs are prepared to parent an adopted child
  • the qualities you’re looking for in PAPs 
  • the kind of relationship and contact you want after the adoption takes place

What should I ask prospective adoptive parents (PAPs)?

When making a decision about adoption, you may want to ask PAPs about their values and plans for parenting an adopted child. This may help guide your decision about whether or not to choose adoption, and which family to pick if you do choose adoption. Some questions to ask may include:

  • What are their reasons for wanting to adopt?
  • What are their backgrounds, race/ethnicities, and cultural and/or religious practices?
  • How do they plan to adapt their parenting for an adopted child, versus how they might parent a biological child?
  • Are they interested in learning about how to best parent an adopted child, and the complex relationships and challenges that can come from adoption?
  • What role do they think you play in the fetus/baby/child’s development, whether or not you’re involved in the future?