Finding a match with expectant parents considering adoption is one of the hardest parts of the open adoption process.
If you’re a waiting adoptive parent, you will likely have created an adoption profile to help you stand out from the crowd and spread the word that they’re adopting.
But as effective as adoption profiles are, they’re no match for what’s been called the earliest and most honest form of advertising: word of mouth.
Getting the word out that you’re adopting, and encouraging others to do the same, isn’t only the cheapest way to get the word out.
Word-of-mouth advertising is effective for a whole bunch of reasons.
First, it’s easy to do—in fact, anyone can do it.
And secondly, it involves reaching out to people you and/or the expectant parents know, trust and presumably like, increasing your chances of making a positive impression.
However, because adoption is such a delicate topic, word-of-mouth advertising needs to be handled carefully—in a manner that is respectful of the expectant parents and doesn’t create unnecessary awkwardness or embarrassment for you.
Here are some tips to help you launch your word-of-mouth campaign and make the most of your outreach efforts.
Who to tell
“Tell everyone you know,” adoption specialists and adoptive parents will advise you.
But you can’t tell everyone that you’re adopting. Nor should you.
For one thing, not everyone understands open adoption or how open adoption networking works. And not everyone will feel comfortable spreading the news that you’re hoping to connect with expectant parents considering an adoption plan for their baby.
Be selective about who you tell. Remember that once your story is out there, it’s no longer yours.
Begin by sharing your your news with people you know and trust—family and friends. They’ll not only be more personally invested in your story, they’ll be more motivated to share it.
Then, as your confidence grows, move to the next stage and start telling others. Again, begin with people that you have a connection with: through your religious affiliations, clubs, or groups Then expand your outreach efforts outwards.
Keep an open mind. After all, you never know who knows who or how expectant parents will eventually find you.
When to tell
There’s no one right or wrong time to tell someone you’re adopting.
Generally speaking, you’ll want to wait until after you’ve completed your home study. If you find a match before then, you’ll need to put the placement on hold and it could complicate things.
But apart from that, you don’t want to tell people you’re adopting until you’re psychologically and emotionally ready—-and that usually means after you’ve completed all of your adoption training and education.
When asking people to share your news, it’s important to sound confident and committed.
If you appear nervous or hesitant, people may take that as a sign that you’re not ready to adopt and could be less inclined to spread the word.
Enlisting others to help you with your adoption search can make for some awkward moments, especially if you jump into it too quickly.
Be prepared to field all kinds of questions ranging from “Why can’t you have kids?” to “Aren’t you worried the birthmother will change her mind?”
But you’ve already survived your home study. You’ll survive these questions as well.
What to say
There are many ways to tell people you’re adopting. The best way by far is to keep it simple and honest.
It doesn’t have to be anything elaborate. In fact, the less elaborate it is the better.
Explain that you’re planning to build your family through adoption, how the matching process works, and ask if they would be comfortable sharing your message with others.
Avoid oversharing or delving too deeply into your infertility struggles, if you’ve had them.
If you’re nervous about what to say or how to deal with the feedback, rehearse your message ahead of time. Share the news at a place that’s comfortable for you and gives you enough time to say everything you need to say and to answer questions, because chances are there will be plenty of those.
Many waiting parents worry about being judged or saying the wrong thing. Keep in mind that most people you tell will be supportive of your adoption efforts and be excited to help.
After all, starting a family is one of the most important milestones in a person’s life. If you had the opportunity to help someone you know make their parenting dream come true, wouldn’t you take advantage of it?
Looking to connect with expectant parents considering adoption? Check out our parent profile plans.
In the U.S.? Check out our sister site’s parent profile plans.
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