Four years ago, my wife and I began trying IVF. Unfortunately, many expensive attempts ended in disappointment, so we decided that we needed to try a different path. A friend of ours adopted through private adoption, and I was able to gather some great advice from his experience.
We decided to do private adoption versus an agency simply due to cost and because we had heard mixed reviews on how agencies work. We hired our wonderful lawyer Jeanine Castagna, who has over twenty years of experience, and we began the certification process. After about three months, we were approved, and we determined how we would advertise and promote ourselves.
We set out to build a website (It took a whole weekend!) and made sure to include lots of pictures of us and our family to give potential birth parents an accurate depiction of us as a family. Of course, we included a lot of background on who we are, why we hoped to adopt, and who we would be as parents.
The next step was to advertise on third-party sites. Our lawyer gave us a list of potential sites and we selected quite a few. We created profiles for each one and began the process of going live and determining how much money to allocate to these sites for membership levels and advertising. Adoptimist was by far our favorite site. Not only is it the site where we connected with our daughter’s mother, but it offers a lot of additional social media options. I’m not sure about you, but social media isn’t a strength for me. I also don’t have a lot of time to devote to social media campaigns. Adoptimist has a team that will assist with your campaign and help you with ads on Google, Facebook, Instagram, and other sites. Their pricing is also more competitive than other sites and their team is far more responsive.
Take a deep breath, give a sigh of relief—and then get ready for some highs and lows.
Facebook campaigns are great if you have the additional funds to spend. My wife and I constantly added content to our Facebook and Instagram pages. We also added photos and journal entries on our adoption sites so that potential parents could see us and truly understand who we are and the type of life we could offer. If you decide to pursue this route, know that many sites offer statistics so that you can see how often you are viewed, how long people look at your pages, and so on. If you do not like the numbers or amount of contact you are receiving, try using a different lead photo or adjusting your introduction or description. Some of the sites offer consultants who can review your profile for a small fee and offer suggestions.
We also made a video that we posted on our profiles, our website, and YouTube. It was a compilation of photos, thoughts from some of our closest friends and family, and a bit about ourselves in our own words.
Once this is all done and your marketing strategy is set, take a deep breath, give a sigh of relief—and then get ready for some highs and lows. I remember the first day our phone rang with a potential birth mother, the first time we received an email through one of the sites from a birth mother, and countless other firsts. The excitement and hope were incredible. Likewise, when a potential birth mother stopped responding out of nowhere or when we realized that someone was trying to scam us, the disappointment was devastating. Just remember, KEEP TRYING. KEEP BEING HOPEFUL. Our lawyer told us that private adoption takes on average about eighteen months, and it happened that our daughter was born seventeen months into our journey. In the end, all that disappointment fades away and all you can think of is how much you love your child.
Just remember, KEEP TRYING. KEEP BEING HOPEFUL.
When you do get contacted by a potential birth mother, be careful of the scammers. As disgusting as it seems for someone to try to take advantage of people’s hopes and desperation to adopt, it happens. If you think you are getting scammed, suggest that the potential birth mother reach out to your lawyer. Many times, the scammer would say, “Let’s leave a lawyer out of it.” RED FLAG. DO NOT PROCEED. We even had a woman reach out with pregnant pictures, a sonogram, and a note from her supposed doctor, followed by a fake eviction notice. She promised her son to us if we paid $2000 for her rent. This was not only a lie; it was, and is, illegal. We told her we weren’t interested, and two weeks later, she tried again with a different name.
That being said, there are plenty of legitimate birth parents that are scared, uncertain of whom to choose, and very brave to consider adoption. It is important that you make them feel comfortable and remain as open minded as possible. One of the many things we learned through this process was that nothing goes as planned. For example, when we first started, we thought we wanted a closed adoption. After speaking with some birth mothers who were adopted themselves, we changed our minds.
No matter how discouraged you may feel during the process, be diligent and keep trying. If you need to get away for a few days, do it. Sometimes you need a break to regroup and maintain your hope. When our birth mother reached out and we began to get to know her, we had no idea that she would be the one. We were so blessed to develop a really strong relationship with her. Because she lived close by, we were even able to meet her. I am not sure that this is common, but we are so grateful to have found such wonderful birth parents.
When you hold your child, you know that every extra effort you made, the prayers you said, and the hope you held on to were all worth it. Your miracle came true and your child is yours to love.
We were exhausted emotionally by the time our daughter was born, but we are already extending our certification and looking to adopt again through Adoptimist. The instant love for your child feels like a miracle. My wife has an adult daughter from a previous relationship. She said there was no difference in the love she felt when she looked into her now-grown daughter’s eyes and our new daughter’s eyes.