What is Adoption Outreach and Should We Be Utilizing It?

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What is Adoption Outreach? 

Adoption outreach refers to all of the different steps a hopeful adoptive family can take to find and be found by expectant parents considering an adoption plan for their child. It can range from just telling friends and family to spread the word, to leveraging various social media platforms, to paid advertising (where it is legal to utilize it)! 

What does Adoption Outreach typically look like?

Hopeful adoptive families send emails to relatives and friends and share their plans to adopt and ask their network to help them spread the word. They may also hand out business cards to hospitals, doctors, hairdressers, social workers, etc., put up pull-tab flyers around town, or leverage social media platforms, such as Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, or Pinterest. Many families create a website that hosts their family profile so that an expectant family can learn more about them before reaching out. 

Some hopeful adoptive families also create a family profile video and make it available on YouTube or their social media pages. The video is a great way to help expectant parents connect with a hopeful adoptive family than they can through a profile book or a webpage. Some families go so far as to advertise on the Internet or in print publications, if advertising for an expectant family is legal in your state. 

Should I do my own adoption outreach if I am already working with an attorney or agency?

The statistics show that there are more families looking to adopt and fewer women making adoption plans. Because of these trends, traditional adoption practices must change and families need to work even harder to match with an expectant mother.  That’s why we encourage our Purl families to do adoption outreach even if they are working with our recommended attorneys and agencies. 

Today’s expectant mothers are empowered and online

The women making adoption plans today are more empowered and technologically savvy, and are utilizing the internet and social media every day. They are more likely to google “how to place my child for adoption” or “how to find adoptive parents for my child” than they are to call an agency or attorney to help them. We hear from adoption professionals every day that say their numbers of adoptions are down and that more expectant parents are learning about adoption and even finding adoptive families themselves before ever calling an attorney or agency. 

It can lead to a faster and less expensive adoption

Doing outreach does not compete with the efforts of attorneys or agencies, so there is no downside to engaging in adoption outreach if you’re already working with an Adoption Professional. The outreach can often result in a successful adoption before the more traditional approach. In addition, the outreach can lead to a less expensive adoption as you won’t be paying a match fee or marketing/advertising fee that might be charged by an agency, and even some attorneys. Even if the outreach does not result in a match, it can be a method of garnering support for your adoption from friends and family near and far, can be a fundraising tool or even a way to connect with other individuals who are going through or have gone through an adoption journey like you.

Why do many hopeful expectant parents opt not to utilize Adoption Outreach? 

The most common reason people aren't using this method already is lack of information or awareness. Many people don't realize that that you don't necessarily have to use an agency to match with an expectant mother. Also, many people don't realize that this method actually has worked for so many! Many who do know of this opportunity decide not to utilize it out of fear.  Adoption outreach puts them in the public eye with friends and family, acquaintances or to the general public on the internet, in a vulnerable way. Some families fear not being supported by their network. Others are fearful of communicating with expectant families who contact them, as they have heard stories of adoption scammers. The key is to work closely with your adoption professionals to manage the risks that exist with domestic adoption, whether you utilize adoption outreach or not. Check back next week for another blog entry on how to protect yourself in your adoption outreach. 

The moral of the story

The more you are networking about your adoption journey, the better your chances of connecting with the empowered, online women out there considering an adoption plan for their child. Sitting and waiting with one agency or attorney can take years, and even utilizing a consultant model can take longer than you'd like as more and more expectant families are finding their own adoptive parents on the internet. If you are a waiting family, talk with your adoption professionals about what is legal in your state and consider adoption outreach to better position yourself to adopt quickly, and even less expensively. 

If you need assistance with your adoption outreach, or are interested in Purl's multi-attorney/agency advisement packages that include guidance on adoption outreach, please Contact Us today. 

Katie Zimmerman