Like many couples out there we struggled with unexplained infertility for numerous years. After rounds and rounds of fertility treatments and second opinions from doctors across the city we hit our breaking point and knew that we could not set foot in another fertility clinic again. We were physically, financially and emotionally spent. The wonderful thing is there are so many options available to couples facing infertility these days - IVF, donor sperm or egg, surrogacy, adoption - private, public or international, and the list goes on. The difficultly was that no matter which route we decided to try there were no guarantees that any of them would actually work. After taking a full year off to re-evaluate our lives we decided that what was important to us was having a family. For my husband and me, private adoption was the path we wished to take to try to create our family.
Throughout our entire adoption journey we experienced a lot of negativity from professionals in the adoption world about our chances of actually adopting. Yes, it is true that private adoptions are rare but knew we at least had to try. It definitely won't happen if you don't try. We gave ourselves two years. If at the end of that time we still weren't parents we were going to take at look at where to go from there. I spent every single day thinking about adopting and working hard on ways to spread the word that we wished to adopt. Within 13 months we were chosen to be the parents of a little baby girl. We finally got our happy ending. For any couples out there thinking about or currently trying to adopt privately within Canada I want you to know that it is possible, there is hope. We have since become members of a group of over 20 families in the city who have all adopted privately within the last 3 years.
Private adoptions are anything but private. Adopting privately is all about spreading the word that you wish to adopt. There is no list that couples can get on, there is no average wait time and there is even a chance that you may never make a connection with a birth mom or birth dad. We had to step outside our comfort zone and start sharing our story with everybody - friends, family, co-workers and even complete strangers. You never know how a connection is going to be made. Today I wanted to share with you some of the tools we used to help spread our message.
A life book is a small book about your life that gives birth parents an idea of who you are. They are handed in to adoption lawyers when you register with them. There are plenty of examples of life books online but there is no rule on what you must include. The most important thing is that you give an accurate representation of who you are and showcase why you think you would make great parents. You can have your book printed up online by sites such as shutterfly or you can hand make your own like we did. I found it quite challenging and emotional to write our story. In the end I decided to write our life book like a personal letter from us to the potential birth parents. Once we were happy with the text I found pictures that we both liked and inserted them into the letter.
We wrote a short and concise email about our plans to adopt and sent it to all of our immediate contacts. It talked about who we were and briefly explained how private adoption works and how they could help us. In the email we asked the recipients to forward it to everyone they knew as well. We received emails of support from people we didn't even know. One of those emails contained some advice that we followed up on which eventually lead to how we adopted our daughter.
Having a postcard or small business card printed up is handy to carry around with you because you never know when the topic of adoption is going to come up. We mailed our postcards and business cards to friends and family who were not on the internet. We sent them a few extra copies and asked them to hand them out as well. We also gave it out to our family doctor, dentist, chiropractor etc. Anyone who is in contact with numerous people every day is a good person to ask for help. They may not tell everyone but if the right situation comes up and they have permission to share your story it just might result in a connection. I also used the postcards to keep in touch with any adoption lawyers we registered with. Approximately 2 months after registering with them I would send them a postcard to remind them of who we were.
Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and other social medial sites are a great way to share your story. Just make sure that what you are posting or sharing is relevant to your adoption story. It is important to consider how often you want to post something, you don't want to annoy people by bombarding them with information.
I am not all that tech savvy and don't know how to design a website but I felt it was an important tool to use. I was thrifty and used a blogspot account and set up my own website of sorts. On it I included all of the information that was in our life book along with links to our Facebook and Twitter accounts, information on how to best contact us, our social workers information and lots and lots of pictures.
Website such as CanadaAdopts.com will host your adoption profile for a fee. It is like an online version of your life book. You can post text, pictures, videos and information on how best to contact you. The advantage of posting on such sites is they spend money marketing the site which may result higher ratings in Google then a personal site.
Make sure that you are presenting a consistent message across each platform and be sure to connect everything together. On your website provide a link to your social media accounts, on your postcard include information on how to find you online, in your mass email insert hyperlinks to your personal website etc...
Yup that is certainly a lot of stuff and an enormous amount of work. Adopting privately can feel very overwhelming especially when you are starting out. You don't have to do everything on the list and you certainly don't have to do everything right away. Pick a few ideas that you feel comfortable with and start working on those. In a few months you can always add in something new. Always remember - the more you share your message the greater your chances of making a connection.
Congratulations on taking this step towards becoming parents. Wishing you all the best and hoping your journey is a short one.
adoptive mom of 1