|Posted by firstname.lastname@example.org on July 24, 2018 at 8:25 PM|
Every time the phone rings you wonder if it will be your adoption agency calling to tell you they have a match for you. You find yourself daydreaming about when will you get "the call," and have started feeling uncertain about the waiting period and why your adoption entity hasn't found a match for you. You've gone over and over in your head thinking there must be a way to make this process easier, to find the match that feels right, to find the child you are meant to parent. Somehow you find yourself waking up day after day feeling unsure how to get there. You've starting to realize there must be something else we can be doing. Great news - there is! Chances are there are a lot of ways to take an active role in your process and to help you find the right match, and we are here to tell you the steps to get there!
Here are 5 tips to focus on that will lead you to the RIGHT match:
Educate Yourself –
Connect with a competent adoption specialist specialist or adoption entity to seek out education to prepare you for being an adoptive family. When choosing your adoption professional, ask questions about what education and support is provided during the home study and matching phases of the adoption process. Many families assume their adoption entity will teach them everything they need to know, but often education is lacking and only extends to information about the home study and legal components of an adoption. Seek out comprehensive adoption education courses to not only learn about the process, but also types of adoption, special adoption preferences, how to communicate with birthparents, how to network your adoption, matching, etc.
By equipping yourself with information and knowledge you are setting yourself up for success! You may ask, how will this connect me to a birthmother? Let me explain. Knowledge is power – and educating yourself will empower you to take an active role in your adoption process. You will have a better vision of what options will be best for your family. You may be more open to considering something you were not previously aware of, feel more empowered to share your adoption profile, and/or be prepared for contact with potential birthmothers. These steps lead to connections, which will broaden your opportunities for contact, as well as finding the right match for you. Building the foundation of your adoption process on education will allow you to complete the remaining steps outlined in this blog post.
Get Support –
Talk to your friends and family about your decision to adopt. Just like when you started the process, you probably didn’t know a lot about adoption – you will need to educate them on the process, about birthparents, openness in adoption, and prepare them for estimated timeframe to adopt. Find recommended books such as In On It by Elisabeth O’Toole to give your relatives and friends a resource to learn everything you want them to know about adoption.
This will not only prepare your family for when you bring home your little one, it will get the conversation flowing! The more your family, friends, or co-workers know about your adoption journey, the more likely they are to talk about it! By educating and getting support from your family, they feel empowered too, and become invested in your process. This can lead to finding a match through mutual connections and word of mouth. Your social network is likely to share similarities with you, such as similar interests, values, or ways of life. These factors are what lead you to find the right match, as potential birthparents may also share some of those factors and when choosing an adoptive family, they are looking for a connection!
For example, your sister’s close friend could have a colleague whose friend is faced with an unintended pregnancy and has been considering adoption. You want them to remember you are adopting and reach out to you.
Connect with your Community –
Consider sharing your adoption journey with members of your community. Now wait a minute, before you start reminding yourself you never joined that community club last spring or telling yourself how you “should” be more involved – we are going to give you several options to consider. Most families we talk to can often identify with more than one option and never realized how big their network already is!
Options to consider include but are not limited to: your neighborhood, church or religious dwelling, community club or homeowner’s association, fitness or gym clubs, local community center or YMCA, local meet up groups, hobby meet ups, medical community such as doctor’s or dentist office, real estate agent, insurance or mortgage broker, your hair stylist, sports leagues, alumni collegiate associations, country clubs, support groups, or other group or club.
Connections will increase your exposure and contact to potential birthmothers. Everyone has heard the saying, “it’s all who you know!” Well – there is some truth to that in that the more people who know you are adopting, the more likely you are to connect with someone who knows someone considering adoption for their baby.
Create an Adoption Profile that Truly Represents You -
Many adopting parents feel ambivalent about creating a profile, and others simply dread it. While it can be difficult to “market” or “sell” yourself – try viewing it from a different perspective, from an expectant mother’s perspective. Expectant mothers want to see a genuine, real life family – they want to know what you like to do, what your family is like, traditions, interests and most of all, what it would be like for their child to grow up with you as parents. Avoid trying to represent the “ideal” adopting family or what you “think” expectant parents “want” to see – and rather, just be yourself! Through pictures and text, give expectant parents a view of your values, interests, views on parenting, as well as what it would be like to grow up in your family, and how you plan to talk to your child about their birthparents and his/her adoption story.
Once you complete that rocking adoption profile, you can use it to further connect with your community. You can market your adoption through pass-a-long cards or profile postcards that you can display in community spots. Ask your doctor or dentist’s office, OBGYN offices, pregnancy centers, or churches and they sometimes allow you to leave your profile in a common area that could be seen by a potential birthmother.
Be sure to get permission to leave your information and follow your state’s guidelines on advertising. If you are unsure of your state’s laws, click read article by the Child Welfare Gateway that can be found here: https://www.childwelfare.gov/topics/systemwide/laws-policies/statutes/advertising/ or talk with your adoption professional for feedback. For Florida peeps, advertising by adopting parents is a no-no! For more information on how to market without advertising, check out our upcoming webinars on Networking your Adoption Journey.
Get Online! -
Think about the last time you wanted to know about ANYTHING, what did you do? You picked up your smartphone and did a Google search! Chances are you also did the exact same thing when you began considering adoption and wanted to know where to start. Expectant mothers are doing the same thing - the best way to get the most exposure and increase your chances of finding your right match is to be visible online!
Create a Facebook and Instagram page. Be sure to make regular posts about what you are doing towards adoption and in life in general. Post pictures from your latest weekend family get-together or your niece’s most recent school play you attended. Post when you take a step in your adoption process or towards becoming parents – such as a buying a new children’s adoption book or baby item. Remember, your goal is to give potential birthparents a look into your real life. She may feel a connection to you due to a mutual interest, or she values the commitment you have about becoming parents. She may like your page or save your contact information after seeing your weekend post about going to a game for her favorite football team, and decide to reach out the next time she sees a post showing your efforts towards adopting.
Also consider getting on adoption online hosting sites for adopting families, creating a website, or talking to an adoption marketing specialist to consider marketing and online ad options. Ask your adoption entity or professional what options they offer to get you online exposure to potential birthparents.
Leave us a comment, feedback and any questions you have below. Give us a like on social media to let us know if you find this article helpful. Be sure to check out our other blog posts for more information and helpful tips - all about adoption!