Going online is one way to share and connect with prospective birth parents. But it’s not the only game in town. Check out these other ways to spread the word about your dream to adopt.
A printed adoption profile. This has the main networking tool used by agencies in the past and it’s still the big one today. You can create a printed profile on your own through free services like Picassa or have a professional service do it for you.
Both options have their pros and cons. A lot will depend on your schedule, creativity and budget. Making your own profile is one way to showcase your personality and artistic talents and take a hands-on approach to your outreach efforts. Plus, it’s fun to do, especially if you do it with your partner or your child.
Just be prepared to invest a lot of time and effort, particularly if you’re working with more than one agency because you’ll need multiple copies. Before you get started on yours, run the idea by your agency. They may try to talk you out of it because home made books tend to be fussy, bulky and difficult to store.
By contrast, digital books are easier to create and have a nice clean look to them. But they lack the personal touch. And can come off looking slick rather than sincere.
Social networking. Sites like Facebook and Twitter are all the rage today in part because they’re free and easy to use. And while they’re great for networking and generating leads, their track record for creating matches is still unknown. To be successful at social media, you need to find content that’s fresh and relevant and interact on a regular basis with your followers, which can be a huge drain on your time. So before you jump in, make sure you’ll willing to make a daily commitment to updating your account.
Personal websites and blogs Creating an online presence is a popular way to stand out from the crowd and cast a wide net. But establishing a digital outpost is only half the battle. Making sure people find it is the other half. That said, websites are another way to get the word out about your adoption journey. And along with blogs, it’s a useful resource to document your ups and downs and find an outlet for your thoughts and emotions.
Newspaper ads. Newspapers were one of the most popular networking tools. Then the internet came along and print media lost its dominance. Targeting your search with classified ads is still effective, particularly in smaller communities where local papers still have a lot of influence or on campus. But check first since some publications have policies that prohibit adoptive parents from advertising.
Letter and pamphlets. Many people believe writing letters to obstetricians, gynaecologists and family doctors are an effective outreach tool. But the benefits are minimal. Doctors are way too busy to show your profile to their patients. And unless they know you personally, they probably won’t keep it on file. Their patients are their top priority. Still, it’s worth a try and their addresses are easy to find online or through a mailing list broker. Just don’t make it the cornerstone of your networking campaign.
Business cards. Handing out business cards can help you get the word out, but again the payoff is questionable. On the plus side, they’re versatile and the printing and distribution costs are minimal. On the negative side, handing them out to people you don’t know could lead to a lot of raised eyebrows and awkward silences.
T-shirts and other marketing tools. When it comes to getting the word out about your plans to adopt, the sky’s the limit. There are so many ways to get attention. Over the years, waiting parents have posted their message everywhere: on T-shirts, on their cars, even on a billboard. Some methods are more effective–-and tasteful!-– than others so keep that in mind when you’re putting together your outreach strategy.
Word of Mouth. This is by far the cheapest and most effective networking tool. Telling people about your adoption plan may be difficult to do, especially at the beginning of your journey. But the more people who know about it, the more chances you have of connecting with prospective birth parents. After all, you never know someone may know someone who knows someone who’s thinking of placing her baby for adoption.
Connecting with prospective birth parents online is a fast and easy way to jump-start your adoption journey. But there are many other tools that can help you reach out and begin a conversation. Research your options and find the one that’s best for you based on your personal preference, timeline and budget.