This guest post is by Faith Getz Rousso, an adoptee and adoption attorney.
I am an adoption attorney who concentrates on private independent adoption in the state of New York. That is relevant because in the State of New York, along with approximately 41 other states, there are laws that regulate of use of intermediaries or facilitators (those who bring together prospective adoptive parent(s)/ with expectant parent(s)).
In some states like New York and in the District of Columbia, only a licensed agency, parent, legal guardian or birth relative can place/make a match or adoption. Other states restrict the “matching” to agencies or attorneys when compensation is involved for making the match.
In the state of New York and other states, if you would like to adopt a child you must use a New York licensed adoption agency to connect with an expectant mother or work with an adoption attorney to guide you through the independent adoption process of adopting.
There are some agencies that will permit you to locate a child yourself and the agency will process the adoption.
When you shoulder the responsibility of locating an expectant mother that is considering adoption, there is a process that will ultimately put your information in front her and give her an opportunity to consider your family for her baby.
When the burden is on the prospective adoptive families to locate an expectant parent considering adoption for their child, the million-dollar question is “how”?
The answer depends where both the adoptive parents and expectant parent reside.
Approximately 33 states have laws that in some ways limit or regulate the use of advertising in adoption.
In a nutshell, you are not permitted to target a state that doesn’t permit advertising by prospective adoptive parents.
In some states, you must engage an agency or attorney to make the connection for you.
However, when it is the adoptive family doing the work, the key is getting out there to connect with a pregnant woman who may be considering placing her unborn child for adoption.
The ultimate goal is the creating most exposure for the least amount of money.
If we were having this conversation 10 + years ago, it would have been simple: An ad would be placed in a newspaper “ADOPTION. Loving happy couple hoping to adopt. Call: 1-800- xxx-xxxxx. Legal Expenses Paid”.
This short (typically limited to 25 words) ad would open the door for an expectant parent to contact you by your 1-800 number so they wouldn’t have to incur the costs of the phone call.
Although these ads still exist most people will most likely view this ad on a screen rather then on paper along with a link to the prospective adoptive family’s adoption profile and a phone number that accepts text messages. Today, contact would most likely be by text or email.
Creating an adoption media plan for most prospective adoptive families is the key to the most exposure for the least amount of money.
What is an adoption media plan? An adoption media plan is utilizing a combination of social media, print ads, adoption websites, and online classified ads, Google Ad words to get you in front of the right person.
You may be asking yourself is social media necessary? Who are we attempting to reach and how do we reach them? Typically, tech savvy pregnant women want to research their options to place their baby while in the privacy of their home.
Or alternatively, they may not be thinking about the baby or how they are going to take care of her or her. Rather, they may be thinking about something completely different: New shoes. A concert. A hairstyle. Or … they may be simply looking at their Instagram feed or Facebook page to check out what’s going on.
The average American spends approximately two hours a day on social media. So to answer the question: Yes, it is necessary to use social media to reach pregnant women considering adoption.
According to a recent survey conducted by Pew Research Center, “Social Media Use in 2018”, 88% of 18-29 year olds indicate they use social media.
This is the reason why social media must be a significant part of your media plan to connect with an expectant parent.
To successfully utilize social media to connect with an expectant parent you need to follow the trends that the expectant parents are following. “Like” their posts. Hashtag relevant terms.
Your profile site should be in your Instagram and Twitter bio. This way they can see who you are. Give expectant parent a chance to be a fly on the wall in your life.
Here are some additional tips:
- Create an awesome creative adoption profile that showcases you, the love you have to share, and gives an expectant parent a glimpse into “your world”. Hashtags can be placed in the body of your text or at the end. Add a link to your profile in your Facebook, Instagram and Twitter bio and information sections of your account.
- Post often to your Facebook Adoption/Community Page. Link your account to Twitter and Instagram.
- Follow trends, people and activities on Instagram and Twitter. Post your reaction to their posts. Don’t forget to mention that you are considering adoption in your comment and utilize hashtags.
- Use hashtags. The use of hashtags should be both adoption and non-adoption related. Hashtags have become one of the most useful tools in social media. They are words or statements that have a prefix the symbol, “#”. They are used to generate more followers and organize issues and subjects. Because hashtags are used to advertise, show emotion, announce an event or find people with similar interests they are a great way to expand your network and keep you visible to your target audience.
- Follow Hashtags. Search for a topic your are interested in Instagram. If you see a hashtag that you like, tap on the follow button. You will begin to see posts from that hashtag in your feed. Click on other people’s hashtag to see other interesting hashtags.
- Photos. In today’s world people want visuals. Your photos tell a story, and become a teaser for an expectant parent to want to know more. Use photos of funny, endearing moments that will help people relate to you as a real person.
Incorporate the use of social media into your life while you are attempting to connect with an expectant parent that is considering placing their child for adoption.
I believe if a prospective adoptive parent is committed to the process … they will form their family through adoption.
It is important not to make the journey your life. Enjoy. Laugh. Be creative. And enjoy the ride. There will be bumps and detours, but it will be worth it.
Faith Getz Rousso, Esq. is a private adoption attorney with a practice in Garden City, NY. She is an adult adoptee and a mother of two boys with many years of family law experience.
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