"This is a great description given by Joanna Ivey in her new book “The Essential Guide To Adoption Outreach.” The book is a must have for anyone hoping to adopt."
Paula & Tom share an interview about their adoption journey...
At the start of our adoption journey we researched a few different adoption agencies online and we talked to friends and acquaintances that had adopted to get their experience and perspective. It was surprising to learn about the range of options available. We didn’t even realize that you could pursue or use an out-of-state agency until we talked with friends of friends, and they told us their experience.
We received lots of emotional support from family and friends. We had a great deal of encouragement and people willing to answer questions and give us advice when we asked for it. Our main advice for others would be to educate yourself. There are many unknowns with adoption until it is finalized. The process can be very convoluted and difficult, there are no guarantees. The laws vary in each state, and part of the reason we sought to use an out-of-state agency is that the laws in WI aren’t all that favorable to adoptive parents. The cost can also vary greatly, depending on the type of agency you use, whether it’s an in-state or interstate adoption, and whether it’s domestic or foreign. You can’t talk to too many people. If you’re matched with a birth mom in another state, make sure there are attorneys involved in both states (yours and the state the child is born in) to ensure you’re managing the legal aspects correctly, which again can be complex. You will spend more money, but the peace of mind is worth it.
Our child’s birth parents found us through an adoptive parent profile. They contacted the agency through the phone number on our profile and we were connected. Our first connection felt like a first date. We wanted to leave a good first impression and we also wanted to learn more. We talked to our child’s birth parents on the phone several times, but we also met them in person, which we both highly recommend. We were nervous and sometimes didn’t know what to say and that’s OK! We adopted a newborn and were at the hospital for her birth, and having met her birth parents in advance made the hospital experience MUCH less awkward. To this day we have used email to communicate with our child’s birth mom, typically on a monthly basis. We had a Skype call with our child’s birth mom and her parents on our daughter’s first birthday. We thought it would be a short call, but we ended up talking for over an hour!
We were lucky that we didn’t have any false starts in our adoption journey. Our social worker mentioned something that stuck with me. She recommended that we look at our child’s birth parents’ social media profiles. Scammers often post info on Facebook and other social media pages. It’s OK to be nosey! Another piece of advice we have to someone starting out in the adoption process is to hire an adoption attorney. Learn as much as you can about adoption and what can go wrong. Talk to friends / family that have gone through the process We also suggest to literally take it one day at a time. It’s tough to balance emotionally because you want to be excited for this new person to come into your life, but there are no guarantees. Having said that, when you’re matched, be happy! This is a joyous time, and if it turns out to be a false start, grieve. It’s a loss that needs to be honored.
So you have your home study, you’ve connected with an agency or attorney that fits
your needs perfectly and you have an amazing adoption profile ready to go! But
what’s next? Where do you even begin with your adoption outreach?? Here are a
few frequently asked questions that will help you get on the path for adoption
Does all of my outreach need to be online?
Not at all! A lot of outreach is done within your community and via word-of- mouth.
Some folks will use flyers or business cards and leave them at their local coffee
shops, taverns, churches, teen centers, or community centers. Once you start looking
there are lots of places to share outreach materials! We always suggest you ask
permission first of course.
How will expectant parents considering adoption find me and my website?
The outreach specialists at Hopefully Parents suggest using ‘brand consistency’ to make you easier to find. Here are a few ways to stay ‘brand consistent’.
- Use the same photo for your for all of your social media accounts.
- When you create your social media account names make them all be the same ex: MarioMariaAdopt for your name on your Facebook community page, your adoption Instagram account and your adoption Twitter account.
- Enlist your support community! Ask a select group of family and friends to be your biggest fans- on social media that is! Have then share your website and social media accounts, encourage them to comment and reply to your posts and even to distribute outreach cards for you!
How do you use Facebook for outreach?
Facebook and other social media platforms like Instagram & Twitter are great way to develop a community to support your adoption journey. Ask your friends & family to be active in sharing your social media pages with their contacts.
Your Facebook page creates an instant access into your life. Someone viewing your social media feed can learn more about you than they can by viewing your profile. Your newsfeed is sort of like a diary of your lives!
Is it legal to use Facebook ads for outreach?
We always suggest you to ask your attorney or agency first to make sure that you are allowed to advertise on Facebook. Your attorney or agency will know If you state allows advertising our just outreach posts through Facebook.
What can I do with extra profiles- mail them to people or ??
If you have a team of people who are helping you with your outreach (family, friends, & coworkers) you can give them a profile to have on hand. This way, if Aunt Amelia from out of state comes into contact with an individual who is considering adoption, she has your booklet of photos and text to share.
What are inexpensive and easy ways to spread the word?
Social media is the best way to spread the word for free. It is free to sign up and can become easier over time after you use it more and more!
What's been most effective tool in outreach?
This would be based on the individual that doing the outreach and their comfort level. There is not one social media site or website that works better than the other. We suggest finding one that you like to use and continue to update your content through posting photos, videos, and connecting with groups on the social media site as well.
How do I use online tools from Hopefully Parents for my adoption outreach!?
Today, everyone is getting online for one reason or another. With the increasing popularity of promoting yourself, your business and your life online and with social media, we get the same question ‘how do I get my adoption profile online?’ Well it is quite simple! Hopefully Parents has a great way to share your adoption profile, your photos, your contact information and so much more! Hosting an online profile with Hopefully Parents will allow you to have a home page to send all potential parents considering adoption. As you are doing your own outreach through social media, connecting with friends or giving outreach cards, having a link to personal adoption page is a great feature!
A Hopefully Parents hosted page is a one-time fee that gives you your own private personal page with minimal effort. You will get your own web address to share with the bonus of Hopefully Parents building and designing it for you. Your profile will be online and ready to download, plus you can add special features! The best thing about hosting your adoption outreach with Hopefully Parents is that you will gain a consistent look of your profile booklet to your webpage and there is no competing with other adoptive families on large websites. When you share a link to your page, the expectant parents considering adoption see YOU and only you. You are not lost in a mass listing with hundreds of other couples for you to feel like you are competing with.
Hopefully Parents has Tons of Benefits!
A Photo Gallery
Pictures always catch the eye of potential adoptive parents! If there are some favorite photos that didn’t make it into your adoption profile, but they share who you are as hopeful adoptive parents, you can add them to your photo gallery on your page. You can add personal captions to describe the photo and now anyone can view your photo gallery to get to know you better. Your gallery can be updated with new photos as you travel, celebrate holidays or birthdays and enjoy your life with your family and friends.
Contact info is the most important information that you need on your Hopefully Parents page and any other form of connecting that you may use. You will have a beautiful profile, loving photos and a happy video, and this will be the way that potential adoptive parents will connect with you. Add all forms of contact on your online page. This will give anyone trying to connect with you a comfortable option. Some people prefer to email or text over calling.
Personal Video Message
A video message is a personal way of sharing a heart felt expression of who you are. Sometimes seeing someone in action creates a deeper connection and links all the photos and love together. Your video can be whatever you would like it to be! It could be a silly time, a loving message, or you embracing your loving life with your significant other.
Share Your Profile
Your first impression photo that you have chosen for your adoption profile booklet, should be the same amazing introduction photo on your Hopefully Parents online page. We will embed your entire profile for potential birth parents considering adoption to click through, which will share your story so they can get to know you better through photos and text.
Once your Hopefully Parents Online Page is created and looks wonderful, share it with your family and friends! Announce your new online page on your social media, through text, or email! Get the word out that you have exciting news and you would like everyone to share your exciting news that you are hopeful parents adopting!
Are you looking for even more tips and info on how to get online and use social media for your adoption outreach?? Well, the Hopefully Parents Adoption Outreach Specialist have created a book, 'The Essential Guide to Adoption Outreach: Using Social Media & Personal Networking to Adopt in Today's World' that will help you at every step of the way of getting online!
'The Essential Guide to Adoption Outreach:Using Social Media & Personal Networking to Adopt in Today's World'
Our adoption journey began when we were at a crossroad during infertility treatments. My niece was adopted through IAC, so we decided adoption with the help of’ IAC was the path for us. We had support during this time from my husband’s parents as well as my brother and brother-n-law.
Corey and I decided to use social media to help gain exposure of our adoption journey. We not only had a personal website through IAC, we also had a Facebook page and outreach cards made by Hopefully Parents. We left the outreach cards behind anywhere we went and we recruited friends to help us hand them out. I have to say, we used Facebook a lot! We were active in various adoption support groups and did anything we could to spread the word we were looking to adopt. We did come across a couple of negative scammers that reached out to us via Facebook. However it was very clear from the beginning that they were in fact scammers.
We actually connected with our child’s birth parents by way of Facebook in an online adoption support group that we had shared our story in. Our first contact with our child’s birth parents was exciting, however we did so much out reach we always looked at it as an opportunity to educate someone with our adoption experience in our friend/family network then if the conversations grew to more that was even better! Now our son’s birth mother actively follows us on Facebook as well as we text, email and have a private Shutterfly share site.
'We connected with our child’s birth parents by way of Facebook in an online adoption support group that we had shared our story in.'
Our advice to someone just starting out in the adoption process would be to avoid agencies and be cautious of those wanting large amounts of money especially up front. I wouldn't recommend to anyone to hire an agency. After the closure of IAC it was very difficult to lose our investment however I strongly feel the private attorney and LCSW was the best help not only I could have hired but truly had the best interest of the birthmother at heart.
During ‘the wait’ the best thing to do is to stay busy and share, share, share your story with anyone and everyone. People love adoption and babies. They are always willing to help you share the word too.