If you want to adopt a child, you are among many potential parents in the U.S. who consider and follow through with this legal process every year. According to the Adoption Network, parents adopt approximately 135,000 children in the U.S. on an annual basis.

If you intend to adopt from an expecting mother, the process can be interesting, exciting and emotional. Effectively building a relationship with the mother can increase the likelihood of the adoption process going smoothly.

Plan a fun first meeting

When you first meet the expectant mother you hope to adopt from, the situation can feel awkward. Instead of meeting up for coffee or for a meal and trying to engage in conversation, consider meeting up to do a fun, engaging activity together instead. For example, you may want to take a cooking class together or meet up to paint pottery.

Approach conversations with confidence

As you plan for the birth of the child, talking about the pending adoption may feel uncomfortable. Instead of shying away from these topics, approach them with confidence. For example, while creating a strategic plan for the birth of the baby, do not be afraid to ask who the mother feels comfortable having in the room during the birth.

Commit to open communication

Setting clear expectations from the start of the adoption process can help you and the expectant mother both know what to expect moving forward. It is normal to conduct multiple conversations before the birth and then not speak very often following the birth, especially if you plan on a closed adoption.

Listen to the birth mother’s requests

You do not have to agree to the birth mother’s requests. Rather, the goal of listening to her is to gain understanding or even to compromise about different issues. Make sure you set realistic expectations and commit to compromising in certain cases to preserve the best interests of your adopted child.