Posting your adoption profile online is a great way to expand your reach and connect with expectant parents who are considering adoption for their baby.
It’s also a proven way to get more control over your adopting journey. Self-matching adoption sites like America Adopts! allow you to not only create a high quality web page in less than an hour, they will also network it for you—at a fraction of the cost and time it takes to do it yourself.
What comes next is up to you and the expectants who contact you. But unlike working with an adoption agency, together you’ll call the shots and be responsible for moving your relationship forward, in accordance with adoption laws, with the help of experienced licensed professionals.
Over the last 10 years we’ve worked with dozens of waiting adoptive parents. Here are some of the common mistakes we’ve seen them make when posting their parent profile on the web—and how to avoid them.
They don’t believe they’ll get chosen
Hard to believe, but it’s true: You may be asking yourself why would anyone sign up with a self-matching service if they didn’t believe they would get picked? In some cases, it’s because the waiting couple has already experienced so many disappointments and setbacks on their road to adoption that they don’t want to get their hopes up too high.
In other cases, it’s because they’ve already been waiting a while to find a match, or have tried finding a match with other self-matching sites, and have nothing to show for it. Whatever the reason, many hopeful parents go into the self-matching process half-heartedly. They tell themselves that since they haven’t been successful so far, they won’t be successful now.
But when it comes to adoption, past performance doesn’t indicate future success. Every situation is different. Just because you haven’t found a match somewhere else, or the site you’re on hasn’t had a lot of matches, doesn’t mean you’ll never find one. Take a look at what the other self-matching services offer and how easy they are to find on Google or on social media using adoption-related keywords.
How long have they been around for and how much content do they have (since that will have a huge impact on how Google ranks them in its search results and, by extension, how easy it will be for expectant parents to find them)? How many other couples are listed? How much exposure will you get on the site and on social media, and is it included in their fees? How easy will it be for you to stand out? After all, that is the only reason to join a parent profile site in the first place.
Go with your gut. And go in with a positive attitude. After all, you’re in charge. Your ability to be successful will, in part, hinge on your attitude and how much work you’re willing to put in to make a match happen.
They expect instant results
This is the flip side to the previous section–posting your profile with unrealistic expectations. As mentioned, creating an online profile on a self-matching website will instantly give you a presence on the web and increase your chances of getting noticed by expectant parents considering adoption.
But there is no guarantee it will work. It’s no different than if you’re working at an agency or a consultant: not everyone will get chosen. When all is said and down, an online profile is merely a tool, like an adoption profile book. There are many other factors that go into making a match—from where you’re located to your race, religion and other criteria. And as with any tool, your success will hinge on what you do with it.
We’ve seen couples find a match the first week or even the first day their profile was up and running. But the majority of cases take longer—months and sometimes even years. Be hopeful. But be realistic. Measure your progress month by month rather than day by day. And don’t throw in the towel just because you haven’t heard anything the first few weeks. A match can come at any time, for any reason. All you need is one connection–the right one. And it often happens when you least expect it.
Once their profile is posted online they sit back and wait
There’s no set formula or timeline to finding a match. For some people, it’s quick; for others, it takes more time. Making a connection, especially for something as life-changing as adoption, is complicated and involves many variable. Chemistry is just one of them. So just because your profile is up and running doesn’t mean you can just sit back and wait for an expectant mother to contact you. You still need to be proactive and find ways to share your profile, whether it be through your social media accounts or word of mouth.
As we’ve said elsewhere, when it comes to finding a match, there is no such thing as having too much exposure. But you also need to make sure that your letter, and the portrait it paints of you, is as good as it can be. A self-matching adoption service can only do so much. You still need to put some skin in the game—your profile is only as good as you make it.
And it doesn’t hurt to update your photos every now and then—for instance, after a special family event or get-together or as the seasons change. There’s no reason your photo album should have pictures of you all bundled up in a coat and mittens if it’s the middle of the summer. The more proactive you are and the more outreach you do, the sooner you’ll find a match.
They publish the first photos they can find
Of all the elements in your profile, your photos are probably the most important. Photos can make or break your success. That’s why we offer up to 30. Your pictures are often the first thing that expectant parents see, and if you’re not careful they could be the only thing they see.
More often than not, photos are the deciding factor—the reason an expectant mother choses one couple over another. After all, who doesn’t like scrolling through a family album? And they also make a great icebreaker for your initial conversation.
So don’t think of your photos as an afterthought. Make sure you invest the time to find quality pictures. And if you don’t have any good ones on hand, set up a photo session and take new ones. They don’t have to be fancy. Even selfies will do. Just make sure that the lighting is good, that they show you in a variety of poses, and that they paint a picture of the kind of person you are and the parent you could be.
They underestimate the power of social media
More hopeful adoptive parents than ever are taking their adoption searches into their own hands these days. They understand that when it comes to finding a match, they can have a big say in the process. And one of the key ways they’re doing this is by sharing their stories and photos on social media networks like Instagram and Facebook.
Social media is appealing not only because it’s free—it’s also a place where they know that expectant parents hang out. We know that too. That’s why we’ve built up our networks over the past 10 years. Today we have more than 30,000 followers across four different channels (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest) and the number keeps growing.
We’re active every day because we know that expectant parents and their families are too. Having a large, engaged, and regular social media presence gives our hopeful parents the edge by allowing them to leverage their online profile in ways they could never do on their own.
They overestimate the impact of adoption scammers
Let’s face it, nobody likes scammers. But unfortunately they’re part of the adoption process, especially on the internet. Even agencies have to deal with them. But you don’t hear about them very often because they’re vetted beforehand.
Vetting takes time and money, and not everyone can afford the $40,000+ price tag it takes to work with an agency. Doing your own outreach is considerably less expensive but it also comes with risks. That’s why we always recommend hopeful parents work with licensed experienced adoption professionals. They can guide you through the process and spot red flags before you get too emotionally or financially involved in a situation.
As an added safeguard for those who may not have the resources to do a proper screening, we also have a private online support group where hopeful parents on our site can alert others to possible scams before they have a chance to develop. Recently one couple shared their story, saving others the time and aggravation of dealing with the scammer on their own. Once the smoke had cleared, everyone felt invigorated and stronger because they realized, as one couple put it, “we’re all in this together.”
They post their online profile before they’re ready
Yes, scammers are real and they are annoying. But as long as you go into the process with your eyes open there are ways to protect yourself from them and other potential pitfalls you may encounter along the way. The key is to get educated —to get yourself up to speed about all aspects of the adoption matching process before you sign up.
Our site can help. It contains 600+ articles about every stage of the self-matching adoption process, from tips on how to create an effective profile to what to say during your first conversation with expectant parents,. Although some hopeful parents may be hesitant to take the plunge on the web due to their fear of scammers or privacy issues, others see the benefits. They understand the pros of uploading their profile far outweigh the cons.
As with so much of adoption, creating an online profile is a personal decision. There are risks, but there are also rewards. How successful you will be will depend on a number of factors, including which self-matching service you choose, the quality of your profile, how much exposure it gets, how proactive you are about the matching process, and—last but not least—how badly you want to be a parent.
Just remember: You have as much of a chance of getting chosen as anyone else. So don’t give up before you start. Do everything you can to make a strong first impression. And don’t overthink it. Finding a match is a bit of crapshoot: sometimes it has nothing to do with your profile at all but rather with just plain luck—being at the right place at the right time.
That’s why you need to put yourself out there and do everything you can to get on an expectant parent’s radar. There are many ways to make a connection and shorten your wait; creating an online adoption profile still remains one of the most effective and economical options to do it.
Looking to increase your online exposure with expectant parents? Our adoption profile plans can help. Or learn more about what makes us different from other self-matching adoption services.