Last month we published a post about seven common mistakes we’ve seen waiting adoptive parents make over the last 10 years when posting their profile online.
We received some great feedback to it. So, without further undue, here are some other pitfalls to avoid if you’re planning to post, or have already posted, your adoption profile online with the goal of finding a match with expectant parents considering adoption.
Comparing yourself to others
Nothing will rob you more of the joy of taking your networking efforts to the next level than comparing yourself or your profile to others. We get it: it’s natural to want to check out other people’s profiles to see who else is out there and what they have to offer.
Reading their stories and viewing their photos can be inspiring. It might highlight something that’s missing from your profile or give you new ideas and insights on how to improve your own presentation. But if you spend too much time looking at other people’s profiles, it could end up causing more trouble than it’s worth.
Instead of lifting you up, looking at other parent profiles could bring you down by forcing you to focus on things that your own profile–or life–lacks. As humans, we’re hardwired to dwell on the one thing in our profile that’s wrong or missing rather than celebrate all of the millions of other things we got right.
Remember, every person’s situation is different. And every expectant mother is looking for something different. Just because another couple’s profile or life may seem more interesting than yours doesn’t mean it’s better or that they have a better chance of getting chosen than you do.
Compared to other couples, our profile made us seem like boring bookworms. But guess what: That’s exactly what our son’s birthmother was looking for.
Checking your email or phone every five minutes to see if you’ve been contacted by an expectant mother
Once your profile is up and running, it’s hard not to feel excited. Not only have you elevated your outreach to another level, but just about anyone can see it and contact you directly at any time.
When our profile went live, we went into high alert. Every hour or so the first few days we kept checking our email to see if anyone had contacted us. And every time the phone rang, we jumped, hopeful that an expectant parent would be on the other line.
After a week or so the excitement wore off and things returned to normal. As exciting as those first few days were, we realized that constantly checking our emall or phone didn’t change anything. We understand how anxious you may be and why you’re doing it. But checking your inbox or taking stock of how many views you received on Instagram won’t help you get chosen any quicker. Instead of wasting time on things that won’t alter the outcome of your search use it to do concrete constructive things that could improve your chances of getting chosen.
For example, If you were having doubts about the opening of your letter, now is the time to change it. If you weren’t thrilled with your initial choice of photos now is the time to change them or take new ones. Spend the time doing things that will move you closer to your goal rather than dwell on things you’ve already done that will only set you back.
Matches happen all the time for all kinds of reasons. You situation can change on a dime from one day to the next. Our first placement took about a year. Our second one took three years. Good thing the thrill of checking our email and phone every five minutes had worn off by then; otherwise we would have been quickly exhausted and not have the stamina to move forward with the matches when they finally came our way.
Signing up for a service with lots of other hopeful couples on it
When it comes to choosing a profile service, it’s tempting to go with one that has a lot of couples on it. After all, more couples means it’s more popular, and more popular means it’s more successful, right?
Not always. More couples also means more competition, and more competition means it will be harder for your profile to stand out. Imagine if you’re an expectant mother and you have to scroll through dozens of couples in order to find the one you’re looking for. After a while, it can be overwhelming and there’s a good chance you’ll either give up or look somewhere else.
Listing more couples is good for the site owner, but not so good for you if you’re looking for a way to get an expectant mother’s attention. And if you joined the site in order to make yourself stand out it kind of defeats the reason you signed up in the first place.
However, if you do end up choosing a site with dozens and dozens of couples, look for ways to differentiate yourself from the crowd. Start with your photos. That’s the first thing that expectant parents see. The more appealing your photos are, the better chance you’ll have of stopping them in their tracks and making a connection. Then work on your letter, making sure that it’s an accurate, engaging and comprehensive portrait of you and the kind of parents you want to be.
At the end of the day, finding an adoption match is a numbers game. The more people who see and click on your profile the better your odds are of making a connection. So don’t just look at how many views your profile receives.
Look at how much traffic the site receives and its messaging. Do the site’s social media posts promote the site or your profile? How much of its incoming traffic is channeled in your direction? How much of a presence does it have on Google and social networks like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter? Having this information at your fingertips can ultimately help you determine which service will drive the most traffic to you and your profile.
Not getting accurate information to make an informed decision
As new profile sites come on the market, it’s gets harder and harder to tell them apart. As a result, each one has to come up a new way to differentiate itself. Some do so by focusing on their matches–“10 matches in 10 months” it might say.
But what exactly does it mean? That 10 of its hopeful parents have successfully adopted as a result of a match they made directly through the site? Or that 10 of its hopeful parents have been matched with the help of the site but they haven’t resulted in a finalized adoption so far?
Different adoption sites have different definitions when it comes to a match. For some, it could mean nothing than one of its couples have made a connection through the website. But whether that connection goes anywhere or not is another question.
In some cases, the person contacting the hopeful parents may change their mind. Or there may have been nothing to the relationship to begin with. Nearly half or even more of all adoption connections eventually fall through.
For others, a match means a connection that has resulted in an approved adoption. In other words, nobody has changed their mind–the placement has successfully gone through.
Before you sign up for an adoption site or outreach service, make sure that you understand the distinction. Just because a service had 10 matches in 10 months doesn’t mean that they all resulted in finalized adoptions. Maybe one or two did. Or maybe none did.
Also see how many couples are using the service. Ten matches out of 30 couples means something completely different than 10 matches out of 120 couples, especially if you’re one of the 11o who hasn’t been chosen.
Being blinded by a service’s marketing
In some cases, a service may say it’s all about ethical adoptions even though it has no say or input in a match after it’s been made. Or it may boast about the number of expectant moms that sign up with it each month. For instance, let’s say a service advertises “20+ expectant moms” register with it each month. Now let’s assume all of those expectant mothers are real. Does that mean that over a 10-month period the service has 200+ matches—because that’s the impression it gives.
Actually, based on the fall-through statistic we mentioned earlier, we know that half or more of those expectant moms won’t go through with their adoption plan for one reason or another. But let’s say the other half did. That would mean the service averages 100 matches every 10 months, or about two a week.
That’s a lot of matches! So where are the announcements about them? If an adoption service makes a big deal on its home page and social media networks about all of the expectant moms who register with it, you would think that it would do the same about all of the matches it creates too.
And yet those kinds of testimonials or photos are nowhere to be found. Why is that? It seems a bit strange. If you adopted a baby as a result of a match through an adoption service, wouldn’t you want them to know? Or, just as importantly, wouldn’t you expect that marketing-savvy service to follow up with you and promote your success story–and others—on its site and social media networks?
The reality is, signing up for an adoption service as an expectant mom isn’t the same as placing your baby with one of its couples. So, as a hopeful parent with high hopes and a limited budget, make sure you understand what you’re signing up for.
Along the same lines, when you’re shopping around for a service find out what’s included. For instance, some services may advertise “unlimited connections” and “no hidden costs.” But then you discover that to get your profile boosted on their social media networks, you need to pay extra. And finally, if the service promises you a match in a set time or an “ethical adoption,” make sure you know what you’re getting and get it in writing.
Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Unless you do, you could be setting yourself up for disappointment. Finding an adoption match is stressful and unpredictable enough already. Managing your expectations can be a challenge. Looking beyond the service’s marketing material and having a firm understanding of what the service does, what it can deliver, and what’s extra will go a long way to make your experience more enjoyable and spare you a lot of frustration and disappointment down the road.
Self-matching adoption sites and other outreach services can put you in the driver’s seat and potentially shorten your wait time. Before you sign up, make sure you do your homework and determine whether they’re right for you.
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.