Adoptimist Messaging is significantly different than most other e-communications you will have with an expectant mother who is considering adoption. In this article we’ll briefly explore the reasons why Adoptimist Messaging is unique and discuss how you can start to prepare for successful communications on the website. As always, we recommend using these tips as a guide only. Your instincts and intuition should always supersede any advice that we can provide here. With that in mind, let’s take a look at some of the essentials you’ll want to know about Adoptimist messaging:
1. Adoptimist Messaging isn’t e-mail.
Our messaging system is unique in the sense that it is totally private and anonymous, not even revealing so much as an email address or proper name. This is significant especially in light of what search engines can do these days.
Messages can often be very short in duration (especially at first) and sometimes almost cryptic in nature. On the other hand, some expectant mother members may go into great detail, freely broaching topics they wouldn’t otherwise feel comfortable with. Communications may also began with little more than a simple but very direct question. Regardless of the approach she chooses or how you feel about it, be ready to respond with speed and earnestness.
2. Expectant mother members may be messaging and communicating with several families at once.
Keep in mind this is a strength of our system for expectant mothers who may be going through a difficult and confusing time. They are able to remain totally anonymous while still freely saving, meeting, and communicating with several families. This is an important distinction to make between our messaging system and regular email or phone calls. Because she is in a process and may not even be sure if adoption is right for her, our system gives EM members plenty of latitude as they work through their situation in their own way and time. In fact an EM member may send a message to a family and subsequently disappear for months - only to return to the site (and the family) down the road. This is why we won’t ever delete EM accounts due to inactivity. And this is why it is best for families not to pester an expectant mother member during lengthy periods of inactivity or silence. Her timing may not be ideal for you. But she is entitled to handle the process in her own way.
3. Let the expectant mother take the lead in communications.
If she sends only a sentence, don’t send back a novel in response. If she starts off keeping it light, then you might want to keep it fairly light too. One solid tip is to realize that she is probably using Adoptimist messaging for a specific reason, namely that she is still exploring the idea of adopting or she is considering several families at once. Or perhaps she is in a difficult situation and trying hard to protect her anonymity. Families should respect these possibilities and not push the person further than she wants to go.
4. Try to keep the conversation going.
Don’t be pushy. But don’t run communications into a dead end either. If you respond to a message by saying: “Let’s discuss this more over email.” or “You should call us at…”, then you are misunderstanding our messaging system. She could obviously email or call your family anytime she wants. Your contact info is available on your profile for anyone to see. So most likely she isn’t looking to communicate in those particular ways if she is using Adoptimist Messaging. Chances are that kind of response will come across as pushy or at the very least not very conversational.
While messaging may eventually grow into emails, video chats, or phone calls, it isn’t likely to at first. Let it get there naturally. A crude but effective analogy would be meeting someone interesting at a bar. You don’t ask for a phone number right away. You get to know the person and learn a few things about them first. You slowly build upon small talk in the hopes that there may eventually be a shared connection.
Hold off on asking a lot of questions, at least at first. Give her a chance to dictate the pace and be sure to respond directly to her concerns and questions. Be who you are of course. But let the conversation have a chance to grow and potentially blossom into something.
5. Sometimes expectant mothers will just disappear and this isn’t your fault.
She may have connected with someone else. She might have left the site altogether. She may have chosen to keep her baby. There are a number of reasons why connections break down. Still, you want to be sure you aren’t the reason. You want to be sure you aren’t driving her away due to traits like anxiousness, desperation, or general pushiness. These emotions can certainly come through in a message if you are preoccupied or haven’t heard from anyone in a very long time. All these emotions are perfectly understandable. But none will help you build a connection. By letting her take the lead and control the conversation, you lower your risk of interjecting your own emotions into your communications.
6. Remember, this is only the beginning.
Eventually you may reach a point where the connection gets to the next level. Perhaps she calls your attorney or agency. Or maybe you exchange emails or arrange a phone meeting. These are definitely milestones. But sometimes she will not be able to do this and may disappear altogether. That’s okay too. She may come back around. She may be gone for good. But at each milestone (speaking with your attorney, sharing medical records, etc.) you get closer to your goal. Most connections won’t ever reach that point. That is why we’ve built a system that encourages multiple connections in the hopes that one out of several will be the right connection for your family.
7. Practical Tips
- Each time you are messaged on Adoptimist, you will receive an email at the address associated with your account. So be sure to use an address you are checking all of the time (and on your smartphone too).
- Remember that you may not be the only family that is being messaged. So naturally, you will want to respond as quickly as you can.
- Sometimes you won’t ever receive a response. Or sometimes you’ll think you are ‘the one’ only to find that she disappears from your lives forever. That doesn’t mean she is a scammer. Sometimes the answer is ‘no’, even if you didn’t hear it from her directly.
Occasionally we do have scammer members that join the site and began to contact families. If you have a legitimate reason to think that someone is abusing our messaging system, contact us immediately.
- And if you aren’t receiving any Adoptimist messages at all, try not to worry. Although it is a constantly growing membership, only a portion of our expectant mother traffic will signup and use our messaging system. It is just one of several ways to communicate with families on the site.