As quickly as technology changes communication, it’s getting difficult to know what is proper and polite when it comes to cell phones, emails, and text messaging. For adopting parents, the boundaries and etiquette for phone calls, texts, and emails may be confusing at times.
While availability and priority are key, here are some ways you won’t feel like you’re crossing a line into socially-oblivious.
1. Set priorities: If you were talking with a birth mother, attorney, or your adoption coordinator in person you wouldn’t be seen taking other calls or texts while you met together. Respect a phone call or text message in the same way, giving your adoption full attention. It helps to take notes during the conversation to that you stay attentive to the details of your time together, and also have reference later to things discussed. Be present in each interaction regarding your adoption.
2. Prepare others and ask for grace: Let your loved ones, coworkers and employer, and possibly even your church know you’re waiting to adopt and may need to take an unexpected call, at any moment. If your office or church have a no-cell-phone policy, ask for special arrangements so that you can keep your phone on vibrate so as not to miss a call from your adoption professionals, or your birth mother.
3. Understand expectations: When text messaging reply as soon as possible, but realize a phone call warrants a more immediate response, and is more appropriate for urgent or important questions or responses. If your birthmother or adoption professional leaves a voice mail, return it promptly. Return emails as soon as possible, preferably within 24 hours. An unreturned phone call or unanswered text or email message leaves a lot of time for the plan to change, so stay in the loop and be as available as possible.
If needed, ask your birth mother or adoption professional how soon they need to hear back from you when they reach out, and find out their preferred method of communication so that you can best meet their expectations to stay connected.
Stay tuned for Adoption Communication Tips 4-6 tomorrow!