What is “matching” in open adoption?

After you have received a packet of families and spent some time talking to one or more families specifically, you might be wondering, “Now what?” After you have identified the family that you would like to adopt the baby, the next step is called matching. Matching is a commitment that you and the adoptive parents are making to each other – you’re confirming that you are pretty sure you would like to make an adoption plan for your baby, and you’re pretty sure that the parent(s) you have chosen are the right ones!

There is no set amount of time you need to talk to a family before matching; some women swear they “know” after just a couple of conversations, while other women prefer to take their time and really get to know the family over several conversations and even in-person meetings. The important thing is that you feel really comfortable that you have picked the best family for your baby!

Once you decide to match, you will no longer talk to other adoptive parents, and the adoptive parents you’ve chosen cannot be contacted by other women interested in placing. You will begin working with an Open Adoption Counselor, who will help you with all the next steps: having a match meeting with the adoptive parents, making a plan for the hospital, talking about ongoing contact after the birth, and getting started on some of the paperwork. Your Open Adoption Counselor is also there just to talk things out anytime you have any questions or just need to talk.

It’s important to remember that even though matching is a big step, it does not obligate you to move forward. You can still change your mind after you have matched! If you have second thoughts about the adoption or about the couple you have chosen, it’s ok to talk to your counselor about those concerns. She is here to help you and will not be upset if you end up changing your mind. Sometimes it helps to think of matching like getting engaged – you’re pretty sure you’re going to do it, but you haven’t said “I do” quite yet!

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