Have you ever considered taking your quest to adopt a baby into your own hands through independent adoption? Now may be the time to give do it.
With restrictions as a result of Covid-19 impacting all aspects of the adoption world, including agencies, independent adoption could significantly improve your chances of success.
That’s because it shifts control over your journey to you, allowing you and the expectant parents considering adoption to find each other and make an adoption plan without an agency.
Keep in mind that even though you’ll be in charge, you won’t—and can’t–do it alone. You still need to hire licensed experienced professionals to help you with the counseling and legal work for you AND the expectant parents.
Still, when all is said and done, arranging everything yourself could be less expensive than going through an agency.
And if you’re proactive and good at getting your message out, you might even find an adoption match sooner.
So how do you spread the word? Before the coronavirus, many waiting parents trying to adopt a baby on their own used
- Word of mouth
- Business cards, flyers and pamphlets
- Garage and bake sales
- Online auctions
Word of mouth still works, of course, it always will. Telling your family, friends, co-workers and just about everyone you know about your adoption plan is by far your most economical and reliable networking tool. But because people aren’t interacting in the same way or as often as they did before COVID-19, it’s become a little less effective.
Ditto for sharing your business cards, flyers and pamphlets, which were another dependable and inexpensive way to get the word out. Now, with physical distancing restrictions in place and people’s fear about contracting the virus, it’s harder to give out your promotional material to people you know and trust.
Same thing for the professionals you used to patronize and chat with. Shelter-at-home regulations means your hairdresser, garage mechanic, dentist and doctor are either closed or have restricted hours. That drop in clientele means fewer leads for you. The same goes for networking with neighbors, people in your craft group or bowling league, and places of worship and other institutions.
When the situation will turnaround is anyone’s guess. Given the bumpy vaccine roll-out, it’s still unclear how much longer the new restrictions and protocols will last. But even conservative estimates project the crisis will continue for the next few months and even longer.
So where does that leave you?
Well, one thing that hasn’t changed is the internet. People are still flocking online. In fact, since COVID-19 hit they’re spending more time there than ever before.
Today, people are working remotely, going to school online, shopping on the web, video conferencing on Zoom, and watching their favorite movies and TV shows on Netflix.
Meanwhile, Facebook, Instagram and other social networking sites are reporting a huge uptick in traffic and engagement. In these days of shutdowns, lockdowns, and social distancing, people are craving connection. And the internet has become the go-to place to find it.
One thing the pandemic hasn’t changed is that people are still getting pregnant and they’re still placing babies for adoption. In fact, due to the economic downturn and job losses, adoption may be top of mind for even more women facing an unplanned pregnancy.
Whether we’ll see a baby boom or an adoption boom as a result of the pandemic is too early to say. But one thing is clear: despite COVID-19 (or maybe because of it) women experiencing an unplanned pregnancy are still looking at adoption as an option.
Even before the coronavirus struck, the web was usually the first place they went to explore their choices. When they needed information or support, they didn’t pick up the phone or email an adoption agency. They went straight to the platform they grew up with and know best.
So if you’re interested in making a meaningful connection with parents with an adoption plan, that’s where you need to go too.
Here are some of the ways you can reach out to an expectant mother with an adoption plan—or, more accurately, where she can find you:
- Social media networks
- Personal Websites
- Parent profile sites
- Online ads
It’s up to you to decide which platform or tool is right for you. Let’s take a quick look at each one
Social Media Networks
Chances are, you’re already on one of them, be it Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or Pinterest. Social networks are a great, free way to get the word out to people across the country about your hopes to adopt. They also a great way to become part of a larger community.
This is another way to tell your story. Thanks to drag-and-drop website services like WordPress and Wix, creating your own parent profile website has never been easier or cheaper. Building a site is a bit more complicated that creating and maintaining a social media presence. But it gives you more control and a better opportunity to share your story and photos.
Blogging has fallen out of favor with the rise of social media, but it’s still an effective way to get your message out. Like personal adoption profile websites, they offer expectant parents a glimpse into your life. Sharing your story in a blog can also help you process your thoughts and feelings and put you in touch with a larger audience, which in turn could connect you to expectant parents considering adoption.
Parent Profile Sites
Self-matching adoption websites like America Adopts! are another easy way to share your profile. If you don’t have the time or expertise to create a website or lack a networking budget, these sites could help you find a match quickly and affordably.
Advertising services like Google Adwords can help you take your networking efforts to the next level. Although they’re pricey, they can also be very effective. Online ads allow you to target specific people in specific places at specific times in ways that other online tools can’t.
Taking your search for a baby into your own hands will give you more control over the matching process and could shorten your wait. But like everything in life, there are pros and cons to doing everything yourself. We’ve gone over some of the pros of independent adoption. Now for some of the cons:
Is Independent Adoption Right For You?
Before you jump into finding a match yourself, you need to make sure you’re comfortable doing it. Adopting a baby is unpredictable at the best of times, even with the help of an agency and experienced professionals. Finding a match on your own will increase the unpredictability of the process, potentially adding to your stress and frustration.
Creating a eye-catching online profile is only part of the independent adoption process. You also need to make sure that your networking campaign is strong and that you’re reaching out to the right people in the right places.
You could have the best profile in the world but if expectant parents can’t find it, during the pandemic or anytime, it doesn’t matter how good it is. So having an awesome profile on its own is no guarantee of success.
Being Proactive Increases Your Chances Of Success
Getting your profile out there will increase your odds of finding a match. Getting it out there in more places more often will increase them even more. In other words, the more proactive you are, the better the chance you’ll have of making a connection.
Some hopeful parents are reluctant to post their profile online for privacy and safety reasons. They may not want their family, friends or co-workers to know they’re trying to adopt or sharing personal facts about themselves in such a public way makes them feel uneasy.
Or sometimes they simply can’t promote their profile because their state’s advertising laws prohibit it. Which brings us to another issue: Before you post anything, make sure that you’re complying with states laws. And, just as importantly, make sure you conduct yourself ethically as well as legally.
For instance, if you find a match, make sure the expectant parents get counselling. Ask yourself some questions
- are the expectant parents making an informed choice?
- Do they have their own set of professionals walking them through the process?
- Do they understand what’s involved in a placement and that it’s permanent?
- Has someone explained to them the repercussions of placing a baby for adoption not only on them and their child, but also on their family?
Next to privacy issues, the other reason some waiting parents may not want to share their profile online is scammers. Unfortunately scammers, like trolls, are a fact of life on the web. They’re unavoidable if you decide to self-match, regardless if you do it online, through pamphlets or business cards, or word of mouth.
Like so much about the adoption process, finding a match through independent adoption is a personal choice. If you’re not comfortable with it, in much the same way that you may not be comfortable with adopting a baby of a certain race or medical condition, don’t do it.
However, with more people spending more time on the web these days and many adoption agencies and advisory services being disrupted as a result of COVID-19 restrictions, it’s one more avenue to explore. And it could help you welcome a new baby into your home faster and more affordably than other options.