You have made the decision to adopt…now what?! Do you choose to work with adoption agency? Do you find an adoption consultant to guide you? Do you work with an adoption attorney and utilize the world around you to help you self-match? Self-matching is the idea that you, as the adoptive parents, are trying to find an expectant mother on your own as opposed to working with adoption agency or consultant. This can be a much more cost-effective, and personal, route to take on your adoption journey. If you decide to focus on self-matching during your adoption, make sure you have an adoption professional you trust in your corner – they will be vital to ensuring you, and the expectant mama, are in the best situation possible. An adoption professional will help everyone establish healthy boundaries, budgets for expenses, and ensure that we are all building a safe and healthy relationship for everyone involved. Well how do I start working on finding an expectant mom considering making an adoption plan for her baby? Respectfully, kindly and carefully! Don’t start stalking crisis pregnancy centers or abortion clinics, don’t start hanging around OBGYN offices or high schools looking for pregnant teenage girls. First and foremost, birth mothers are people too – the most generous and selfless people you could hope to encounter because a birth mom makes the ultimate sacrifice in entrusting someone else to raise her child and to give them everything she wishes she could. And before you enter into an adoption plan with an expectant mom, you as the adoptive parents have to have love in your heart for her, no matter her situation or lifestyle choices. And with those words of wisdom, I offer you some of the best ways to (respectfully) self-match on your adoption journey:
Utilize your Church CommunityStart by talking to your Pastor (or Priest, Reverend, Rabbi, whoever it may be) and let them know your family is pursuing adoption. Not only for the extra prayers and support and shoulder to lean on during this sometimes tumultuous journey, but chances are if a young woman in your church community has found herself in an unexpected pregnancy, she has reached out to Church leaders or may be seeking their guidance. Also, the leadership in your Church will also be the ones to ask later when you need to use Church facilities to host your adoption fundraisers (hint hint). Ask your Pastor for a couple minutes at the end of service to let your Church community know what is going on in your life – chances are, they will want to help support you however they can. And the more people that know about and can support you on your adoption journey, the better! Second, take a few minutes and sit down and write a letter introducing yourselves and explain why your hearts have led you to adoption. Include a picture of your family and send it to all the Churches in your area. It will usually end up on a bulletin board in other Churches and you never know who will see it. One of our families did this and the grandmother of a young girl saw the letter and showed it to her granddaughter who was expecting and unsure of what to do. She met the hopeful adoptive parents and decided to make an adoption plan and they truly have a beautiful relationship and are all looking forward to the arrival of a sweet baby girl in April.
Social MediaThe first thing you should do when you decide to start trying to match with your own expectant mama is create social media profiles specific to your adoption BUT don’t put your personal address, cell phone numbers or email address for your contact information. I don’t say this to make you fearful of birth mom’s, but simply to protect you. The goal is to have your Facebook and Instagram profiles seen by as many people as possible, while still being safe. So create an email address specifically for your adoption journey and use your adoption professionals contact information on any posts – if you’re our clients we encourage you to tag On Point Legal in your Facebook and Instagram posts for contact information! Your social media posts don’t have to be elaborate or perfect, but introduce your family and talk about your adoption journey. Share posts about your day to day activities, family vacations, photos of your pets, have your friends and family write a little post about why you would be great parents and ask your friends and family to share them! Be sure to post your fundraising ideas and efforts and ask people to share them (and donate!). You never know how far your social media posts will reach – one of our families posted a photo announcing their adoption journey and the wife of a second cousin twice removed ( or something to that effect) saw the post and knew someone who was wanting to make an adoption plan for her baby but wasn’t sure where to start. They are now getting ready to welcome a baby boy in a few short months.
Flyers and HandoutsSome people might not be as interested in such an active form of self-matching, but for those who are, create a flyer or a business card with the contact information of your adoption professional or your social media pages. Leave a card when you pay your check at a restaurant, ask your Dr’s offices, church, school, work if you can leave a flyer in the break room or community bulletin board.
Mail a letter to OB’s in your areaSit down with the yellow pages (or Google) and make a list of all of the OB offices in your area and consider sending them a letter, the same kind of letter you sent to the Churches. Introduce yourselves and your adoption journey and send it out into the Universe – a message in a bottle if you will. Now, you will (more than likely) never actually hear back from the actual Doctor you sent it to – doctor/patient confidentiality and all that – but, you never know who might come into that Doctor’s office scared, confused and unsure of what to do. And most people would rather refer others to a person, not a place.