The other week, Preetha and Don from our directory of hopeful adoptive parents told you about the open adoption challenges they face as a South Asian couple. Today, I’m turning over our blog to Andrea and Scott, another couple from our Find A Family registry, to share their adopting story.
Married 11 years, they live in Winder, Georgia and are working with the Independent Adoption Center. Andrea is a kindergarten teacher — last month she began her 13th year! — and Scott works as an operations manager for a small local company.
In their spare time, they like to hang out with their nephews and nieces and do crafts (Andrea) or work on cars (Scott). They believe in honesty and feel that open adoption is a healthy choice for everyone involved. As we were putting together their parent profile, I noticed they had done a lot of online networking. So I thought that would be as good a place as any to begin our interview.
Tell me a little bit about the adoption networking you’ve done so far…
When we were at our adoption agency’s orientation, we learned that 10% of matches come through a client’s own networking efforts. Although this number seems small compared to the total number of matches, we knew that it was important for us to network as much as possible to help our chances of finding that right match. In addition to our online profile on the agency’s website, we’ve put together a separate adoption website and Facebook adoption page.
We also have an adoption blog that we try to keep updated as well as a Twitter account. We have our profile listed with a few adoption profile websites, some paid and some free. We have used both Google ad campaigns as well as Facebook ad campaigns. Andrea is part of many adoption communities and message boards online and has a link to either our blog, Facebook page, or website in the signature of all messages she posts.
We also sent out a mass email to all of our family and friends with information about our plans to adopt and links to all of our websites. We asked them to forward the email to everyone they knew as well. As for non-technology-related networking, we made up business cards with our picture and contact information and sent them in our Christmas cards. We also sent copies of our profile to crisis pregnancy centers and maternity homes in our state and a few surrounding states.
How did you decide which tools to use?
We spent some time reading articles about networking ideas and asking for recommendations from people we knew in the adoption community. We decided to put more energy into online networking since the Internet is such a big part of people’s everyday lives.
Do you have a specific strategy?
No, not really. It’s impossible to predict where our match might come from, so we’ve tried to be open-minded about new networking possibilities and try most everything once.
Which networking tool do you like the best?
With Facebook being as huge as it is, we like having a profile page on there because of its capability to be seen by many people. Whenever someone Likes our page or a post on our Wall, that information can be seen by all of their Facebook friends. That adds up to a lot of people! We’ve also noticed a lot of traffic to our adoption website through our page on Facebook. We also really like having our profiles listed on adoption websites, like America Adopts! We’ve received a lot of contacts through these sites as well.
Which one is a waste of time?
Making profile packets and mailing them to crisis pregnancy centers was probably the biggest waste of time and money for us. We received a few emails and phone calls from some of the centers informing us that they aren’t able to keep our profile on file.
How much time do you spend on networking a week?
At first, we spent several hours a week on our networking efforts. Now we don’t spend as much time, since our websites are set up.
I noticed that you have 400+ Likes on Facebook. That’s amazing! How did you get so many?
About a third of those Likes are probably from the ad campaigns we’ve run on Facebook. Another third are our friends, family, and colleagues. The rest have come from friends of friends on Facebook.
What advice do you have for other couples and singles who are trying to adopt and interested in networking?
Be open-minded about different ways to network and don’t be afraid to get yourself out there! Sometimes it feels like we’re marketing ourselves, but we want to do whatever we can to reach that special person who will give us the gift of family!
Do you have an adoption story?
Share it with us any time. If you’re a hopeful adoptive parent, adoptive parent, birthparent or adoptee with a connection to open adoption, we’d love to hear your story. Submit it here or learn more by checking out our Guidelines For Guest Posts at America Adopts!