6 things we would have done differently on our first adoption

What my wife and I learned that can help you on your adoption journey.


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Now that my wife and I have gone through two domestic adoptions, we’ve had some time to step back and reflect on both adoption stories. One was very different from the other and thankfully we learned from the first one how to go about things a little better on the second one. If you haven’t read them yet, here are links to our first story and our second story.

6 things we would have done differently on our first adoption.

1. We should have wrote down more.

There’s no way we will forget some of our most precious thoughts and feelings, but if we wrote them down immediately (or shortly after) we could have captured more details.

This is especially true when important events happen such as getting the call about a birthmother who wants to talk with you – or the first time you talk with her on the phone – or the first time you meet your baby.

While there is some truth that is better to let yourself experience moments in your life rather than worrying about writing them all down, there are benefits to capturing those moments – such as:

–You can give your child even more details about their adoption story – things you might not recall from memory.

–The details that you write down may help you understand the birthparents and possibly help you build better relationships with them.

–Some special detail you wrote down may help you understand more about your child (for instance if the birthparents shared some family medical history with you).

2. We should have met with (or at least offered to meet up with) our daughter’s birthmom after she was born.

Since this was an interstate adoption, we spent several days in the state where our daughter was born so ICPC (Interstate Compact for the Placement of Children) paperwork could be approved.

We had no idea if our daughter’s birthmom wanted to meet up with us while we were still there. She may or may not have taken us up on our offer and we regret not at least asking.

Maybe she would have wanted to get a few more hugs and kisses before we left – or maybe she simply wanted to see how much we loved and cared for her baby.

On our second adoption, our son’s birthparents wanted to see him a lot before we left the state and we felt it was good for them to see how much we loved and cared for him. Certainly not all birthparents are the same, but I can definitely understand the desire to want to see their baby for a few more moments.

3. We should’ve asked our daughter’s birthmother more questions (and wrote down the answers later).

I wouldn’t want to overwhelm her with tons of questions, but since we had only known her for less than a week before our daughter was born, we wish that we had asked her more.

We should have asked things like: What kind of dreams do you have for her? What do you wish that she would have in her life? What special family traditions do you have? What is your family history? What are your parents and siblings like?

After thinking about this some more, I’m pretty sure that we asked some of these questions at the time – we just didn’t follow through and write down her answers later so we would remember (see #1 above).

4. We should’ve taken more pictures of our daughter’s birthmother.

We have exactly two pictures of her (and neither are very good). Since we didn’t know her very well before our daughter was born, we weren’t sure if she would like us taking pictures of her. We could’ve taken some pictures that weren’t posed – maybe one of her feeding or holding the baby.

We should have asked the hospital staff to take pictures of us with our daughter and her birthmother. If we took more pictures we could have better shown our daughter what her birthmother looks like other than just in a hospital bed. Right now, that is the only picture we have.

5. We should have made a better (first) choice in hotel.

On our first adoption, we knew we would have to stay in another state for 1-2 weeks and we we tried to save some money by staying at a cheaper hotel. But once saw the room we knew why it was cheaper – and we knew we made a mistake. The room was in poor shape, smelled, had 1970’s appliances, and wasn’t particularly clean. It’s only good feature was that it was close to the hospital.  

We prepaid for 7 nights to lock in a discounted rate, but only stayed 2 nights. After seeing the room’s poor condition (and the other not so welcoming guests that were staying there), there was no way we were going to bring the baby to this place. We ended up staying at a Holiday Inn Express that was awesome, clean, and the manager even gave us a great discount after hearing about our adoption story. 

Lessons learned: stay at a hotel that you are familiar with (or have some great references for) so you know what you are getting (my choices are Holiday Inn Express and Hilton hotels) – and don’t prepay.

For more adoption travel information, check out my post 10 Domestic Adoption Travel Tips.

6. We should have found a support group during our adoption journey.

This could have been done through a local support group or with an online group (such as a Facebook group).  We really didn’t know what we were missing. 

During our second adoption, we have been a part of a Facebook group that has been awesome. These are all people that are on the same journey as we are. 

They provide a virtual shoulder to lean on, a place to confidentially tell your thoughts, stresses, fears, doubts, etc. They simply ‘get’ us because they are in the same boat as we are. It is very difficult to find that kind of support – but it is so great when you find it. 

Here are my suggestions for connecting with others through adoption support groups.

Facebook groups:
Domestic Adoption Support Group 
Domestic Adoption Support Network 

Here’s how you can find a local adoption support group

 Question: What do you wish you would have done differently on your adoption journey? Leave a comment below.

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