Posting an online adoption profile is a great way to create a presence for yourself on the web and increase your chances of connecting with expectant parents who are considering adoption for their baby.
For many expectant parents, the internet is one of the first stops in their open adoption journey, enabling them to research their options and even find adoptive parents in a convenient, confidential and pressure-free setting.
But despite its proven track record as an effective outreach tool, there are red flags and limitations to what a web profile can do. Here are 10 things you need to know before you post yours online.
1. Know the law
Before you can post your adoption online, you need to determine whether it’s legal to do so. Provinces and states oversee adoption laws, so the rules and regulations vary from one jurisdiction to the next.
In some provinces such as Manitoba and Alberta, for example, advertising by hopeful adoptive parents is prohibited. Although some waiting parents and adoption professionals are calling for the laws to be updated, it hasn’t happened yet. As a result, familiarize yourself with the regulations where you live, or where you plan to post your profile, beforehand or consult your adoption specialist.
2. Don’t expect results overnight
Posting your profile on the web will instantly increase your reach. But that doesn’t mean you’ll find a match right away. Although some of our hopeful parents have made a connection within days (and sometimes the same day) of going online and went on to adopt, most tend to wait longer.
To maximize your visibility, whether you’ve joined an adoption profile service or have a free-standing website, it’s a good idea to bolster your exposure through advertising. You can do this through Google Adwords or marketing yourself through Facebook or other social media networks.
3. Watch out for scammers
Adoption scams happen both online and off. But due to the internet’s unique mix of unlimited access and anonymity, scams are a lot more rampant online.
Most of the overseas scams are easy to spot. But there are also more sophisticated domestic frauds—aimed your emotions rather than your pocket book—that you need to protect yourself against. Don’t let your feelings get the better of you. Always consult your adoption specialist before pursuing a situation.
4. Protect your privacy
To find an adoption match, you need to open yourself up and share details of your life. After all, you never know what an expectant mother is looking for or which part of your profile she’ll contact with.
That said, it’s important to know where to drop the line. Protect your privacy. Avoid publishing personal or identifying details that could put you at risk or create problems down the road.
5. Use a dedicated email address or phone number
When posting your contact information online, don’t use your private email address or phone number. Instead, get one specifically for your adoption profile from Gmail—for instance, email@example.com
Not only will it help you protect your privacy. It will also make it easier to monitor responses to your profile and ensure that you never miss out on an opportunity.
6. Use discretion when posting it
Reaching out to expectant mothers through the internet is a sensitive issue. Many people will support your efforts and offer to share your profile.
Others, however, will find it inappropriate and insulting. For instance, reaching out to birthmother or unplanned pregnancy groups to see if they know of anyone with an adoption plan is a definite no-no. To avoid embarrassment and hostility, be selective about where and with whom you share your profile. And always get permission from a site’s administrator before you post a link to it.
7. Use respectful wording and tone
Finding adoptive parents for your baby is an overwhelming experience for expectant parents. Especially when all they have to go on is an online letter and some photos.
Before you post your profile on the web, go over your material carefully to make sure that it not only stands out, but that it does so in a good way. This means ensuring that the language and tone are respectful and that it doesn’t display any signs of desperation.
8. Keep it short and visual
People consume information differently online than off. Instead of reading every word, they tend to skim and skip. Keep that in mind when creating your profile.
Go heavy on images and light on text. Create a positive user experience through the use of short sentences, small paragraphs, bolded headings, and lots of white space. When it comes to sharing your story with expectant parents, less is more.
9. Make sure it loads quickly
Internet users have notoriously limited attention spans. If a page doesn’t load quickly, they won’t stick around. They’ll simply move on to another one.
If you’ve created your own online website and are posting it directly on the web, make sure it shows up quickly on screens. Optimize your photos by compressing their file size. Your profile is your first opportunity to introduce yourself to expectant parents. Make a strong first impression and don’t leave anything to chance.
10. Include a clear call to action
Putting your best foot forward is the goal of your online adoption profile. But what’s the point of having an awesome profile if expectant parents don’t know how to contact you?
Let expectant parents know that you would love to hear from them and encourage them to contact you. Your email address or phone number should be prominently displayed on every page, ideally at the top. Web users get easily distracted. Make sure that all of your relevant information can be viewed quickly and easily.
Posting your profile online is an effective way to reach out to expectant parents with an adoption plan. But it can be a double-edged sword. On the one hand, it will boost your visibility and reach and make it easier for expectant parents to find you.
But as with any adoption or online endeavour, you need to be careful and avoid red flags. Knowing what they are and what to do can help you maximize your networking experience and find the match that’s right for you.
Looking to boost your adoption profile’s presence online? Check out our profile plans.
Help us raise awareness about adoption. Like us on Facebook.