After adopting our daughter, A, we had a few people reach out asking us how we were matched so quickly, what we did, etc. Then, since adopting our son, D, and daughter T, we’ve had multiple people asking those same questions again, so it seemed like a blog post was in order. Adoption is, obviously, something very close to our hearts, and that we are passionate about, and something that we never thought we could do or afford before someone took the time to educate us, which we’re so thankful for, so we’re hoping this post will help pay it forward.
We’ve done private domestic adoptions for all of our children. That means we have never used an agency, we were in charge of marketing ourselves to find expectant parents looking to place, and we hired a lawyer on our own, as well as a caseworker for our home study and the adoption process. We used Utah Adoption Specialists, and Paul MacArthur for our lawyer. There are multiple case workers you can use, as well as lawyers, so find what works best for you. After getting our home study done and having all of the basics done, it was time to try to put ourselves out there.
We already had this blog, and had been hiring lifestyle photographers to capture us. I used to be a professional wedding photographer, so I’m pretty picky on photos, and recommend you be too. Hire someone good (not your friend with a “nice camera”), and hire someone to do a lifestyle session – this way you can really let people see a bit into your lives. When we were trying to adopt we hired a photographer every month. If you’re in Utah I recommend Malae Talley Photo, Chandee Marie Photography, Dollface Photo, or Kylee Ann Studios. We would have a list of things we wanted to capture ready – date nights, baking cookies, reading with A, playing games, and our photographers took it from there and showed us. We made sure to not make it all about adoption, but about us. You see so many other blogs out there and there’s an About Me, we want to adopt, and that’s it. That isn’t going to bring people back, so we have recipes, some DIY stuff, date nights, a few personal posts, etc.
We created our Hoping to Adopt Facebook Page, and while we were hoping to adopt I tried to post on our page every other day. Yes, that often. And, it wasn’t what you usually see “Hey, we’re trying to adopt, share!” You see those everywhere, so no one stands out. Rather, I did some live videos showing us, our dogs, our house. I did a live video introducing us. I posted about our date nights, things K was building. I posted about the crib he was building for our future child, and how excited we were for the day we had a baby to fill it. I posted about things K was building to sell to help pay for adoption expenses. Little, subtle reminders that we were trying to adopt mixed in with everyday life. I made sure to tag us in the photos I posted, and posted most updates on this page only, not my personal page, so more people were going there to see what we were up to.
We opened up an etsy shop, and let people know that all sales helped to fund our adoption journey. We had an Instagram account, Facebook page, and Facebook group for this shop. We had business cards made, and on those cards we thanked them for their purchase, and let them know that all sales were helping to fund our adoption journey. With every purchase someone else knew about our journey, and we’d get messages of encouragement. We’d post some personal things about us, updates, other things we were making to help fund adoption, nursery progress, etc in the group and on Instagram. All of that helped people remember us, and friends would invite their friends to purchase from us to help support our cause.
Before being matched with T and D’s birth moms we had contacted a videographer and were preparing to pay for her to help us do a video, showing who we are, telling a bit about us, etc. You’ll see so many videos getting to know you, but a lot of them are awful. They’re taken with a phone, or a friend with a “nice” camera, and they all sound the same. You want to stand out, and you want to hire someone that knows what they are doing. A good videographer, for a video like this, could easily cost $1000, which is still far, far cheaper than using an agency, and if done right, can really help you stand out.
I joined a group on Facebook, PEAP’s Hoping to Adopt (if you want to join you’ll need to message Terra & agree to the rules), and in this group they do some profile building exercises. I didn’t do a ton of them, but she helped us with our About Me, and our letter, so they weren’t the run of the mill “I can’t imagine what you’re going through, the sacrifices you’re making…”. There are so many different exercises that Terra takes time out of her day to start, and to give you personal feedback on. I definitely recommend joining.
Word of mouth works. I was so skeptical, there was no way it would. We don’t have tons of Facebook friends, Instagram followers, any of that. Heck, K rarely posts on either, very few people shared our posts, but, it worked out and we were chosen all 3 times because of what they saw about us on Facebook, as well as meeting us and everyone clicking.
With A, her birth mom heard about us through a friend that I’d met by hiring her to do my makeup for some family photos. She directed her to our blog and Facebook page, and she chose us from there. With D, we were matched through someone that saw a post I made in a Facebook group (someone I didn’t know), letting people know we were trying to adopt, a bit about us, and linking our Facebook page. This person friended me, then ended up meeting D’s birth mom who was looking to place him for adoption. She recommended us, telling her all about us, which she knew from our Facebook page and blog. With T, it’s a similar story, I posted about trying to adopt in a different Facebook group, T’s birth grandma (someone I didn’t know) saw our post and sent our info to her daughter, T’s birth mom. (These were not yardsale sites I was posting on, to me that seems inappropriate and tacky).
I can give you all of the information there is, but what all of our children’s birth moms have said is that we were picked because we care, we respect boundaries, we aren’t pushy, and they could feel that from the beginning. And, with all of them we have become good friends. We didn’t rely on our case workers to have the hard, or awkward, conversations, we did those ourselves. When we got together it was about getting to know each other, not all about this unborn child. We wanted to get to know them, and have a relationship with them. And, while we of course wanted to be picked if the fit was right, we gave them space. We also didn’t make it all about the baby after we were picked either. We kept nourishing our friendship, and well all came to love each other. We keep our word, and do what we say we are going to say. There is always the fear on our end that they’ll chose to parent last minute (which they are totally allowed to do, but it doesn’t make it any less terrifying), and on their part, there’s the fear that you won’t keep up your end, that you are only saying what they want to hear and that you may take the baby and stop all contact. By doing what we said we would, whether it be giving them space, meeting up so many times, calling, and for D & T’s birth moms, seeing how open our adoption is with A’s birth mom, they knew we were genuine, and they felt that in not just our words, but our actions.