It is no secret that social media has some ups and downs. Of course, it needs to be used wisely and it is not the place to have deep and hard conversations. But as for adoption—I think the pros far outweigh the cons and it can be very helpful before, during, and after your adoption search.
Social media is a wonderful place to connect with other people who have adopted. You can look for friends who have adopted through a variety of different means and discuss some of the things they liked or disliked. If you don’t have friends who have adopted or are looking for a wider range of opinions, you can share in community groups or create a post and ask your friends to share it with just a click of a button.
Connecting with others in the adoption community is one of the things you can start early. You would not believe the difference a good support group can make! This is true throughout the entire process and long after you bring a child home. Finding people you can trust early helps to have someone to share the experience with throughout the entire journey. The beauty of social media is that these people do not have to live close and you may not have known them before the process. But some of these people can become your best of friends and the biggest allies in a long and stressful process.
Social media can also be a good place to look for reviews on working with different agencies and attorneys. These people you may not connect with or have a lifelong relationship with, but you can still learn about the good and bad. Keep in mind that people that leave public reviews tend to be on the extreme spectrum and either had a wonderful experience or a horrible one. So take the star ratings you see with a grain of salt. Take time to read through the pros and cons and see if you notice a theme or repeating pattern. Using social media as a resource for research in your adoption can be a huge advantage and help prepare you for what is to come.
Once you have decided on what type of adoption you want to pursue, social media can still be your friend. After our home study was completed and we were awaiting a match, we used social media to connect with different agencies and attorneys to help find birth families. Some entities will post situations for their followers to review and consider. Others will give some helpful information or guidance. This allows you to connect with a variety of different agencies and attorneys from across the country (or world) and help you find a perfect match.
Many people cannot afford adoption on their own. Social media can help in funding your adoption. If you are raising support, social media is very helpful in sharing your story and asking for financial help. Of course, your friends will see what you are doing, but having the opportunity for your friends to share the cause and ask others to be a part of what you are doing is a huge help. You can use other social media platforms, like Pinterest, to search for fundraising ideas or ways to announce your adoption.
Some of these platforms are also a great place to find additional resources to read. These might be resources for you as you are parenting, but there are also resources for children who have been adopted or books that include diverse characters. Social media can also be a good place to start in finding grants or contests that could help contribute to the cost of your adoption. Many companies (including small businesses) want to give back to the community. Social media is a great way to find those without knocking on the door of all your neighbors. We also followed a few consultants that we found encouraging. They post daily updates of their adoptive families. They share about matches, traveling, and placements. They also share about some heartaches. Even though we did not work directly with this consultant, we enjoyed seeing all of their updates and felt encouraged in our own journey.
Once you are matched, social media can also be a great way to share updates with the birth family. By creating a private group, you can share photos and milestones with the birth mother and or father, but also anyone else they want to add to the group. It can be a wonderful way to maintain a relationship between the child’s birth family and adoptive family. You can set up a private group with your family and friends that want to stay up-to-date with the adoption process or watch as your child grows. Eventually, social media can help your son or daughter maintain communication with his or her extended birth family. There can also be a record of communications, photos, and milestones that your child can go back through and remember. It may end up acting like an online journal or scrapbook and be saved for years to come.
Social media can be used after placement with your child or children. This may be beneficial for not only you but also your son or daughter. There are a vast variety of support or community groups focusing on adoption. You can follow pages or groups that have adult adoptees sharing about their struggles and stories. You can also find groups about caring for children’s hair, selling baby and children items, or more general parenting suggestions. Some social media may have videos that share how to care for natural African-American hair. You can also use these platforms to make and host a video introducing you and your family to potential birth families who are looking for adoptive parents.
The possibilities and rationale for using social media are endless. I have shared more about some resources, including social media, in a previous article focusing on transracial adoptions. You will find more information and a few possibilities for how to use social media below. Please remember this is not an exhaustive list and there are many other ways you may find social media beneficial in your adoption search. I would love to hear some ways that you have used social media to help in your journey. Please leave me a note in the comments below.
Facebook is probably the most popular social media platform, but it can also be the most controversial. As always, use wisdom and caution in what to post and conversations to engage in. Facebook can also be one of the most helpful resources in your adoption journey.
- Connecting with adoptive families before, during, and after your adoption
- Finding and researching adoption agencies and attorneys
- Finding adoption situations
- Utilizing your networks and their network for referrals in the adoption world
- Adoption events in your community
- Adoption groups and pages
- Support groups for adoption
- Hair or other personal care groups and pages
- Marketplace or other groups to buy, sell, trade
- Education and encouragement from adoptive families, adoptees, and agencies
- Creating a group to share with your family or the birth family of updates and ongoing communication
Instagram is centered around photos. It is harder to share information here, but once you are connected with others, it can be a great resource for adoptive families. If you already have a following, it is also a great place to share with your friends about your journey and the progress of adoption.
Sharing your journey
Following other adoptive families
Finding personal products
Resources other people recommend or are using
Pinterest is a unique platform as it really does not include much original content. However, it is a wonderful place to browse information, including some unique things, instead of Google. Pinterest gives a little more personal insight into the information and can be more helpful in sifting through so much information at a quick glance.
- Ways to announce adoption
- Baby names
- Fundraising ideas
- Books and other resources recommended for adoption or other categories
- Education for you and your child or children
- Videos and how-tos of how to care for other types of hair or almost any other idea
- Must-have lists for babies, children, families, and anything in between
YouTube contains videos. It may not have a long list of items, but as you find yourself looking at other lists or items, check YouTube for reviews and sneak peeks. It can contain a wealth of knowledge and it is one of the social media platforms that I do not take enough advantage of.
- Creating a profile book
- Adoption stories and interviews
- Creating a video to share your story to adopt
- Creating a video profile to show with expectant mothers and families
- Anything how-to, including hair care, changing diapers, giving a newborn a bath, etc,
- Reviews—anything from high chairs, car seats, cribs, diapers, etc.
- Sneak peeks—find people reading books that you are considering purchasing for your child or family
Twitter shares only 280 characters at a time. The content is usually pretty short and sweet. It’s a great place to find quotes, but it can be used for much more. You follow different people that will share similar interests or needs. You can also search hashtags to find content that may be of interest. Once you find people you respect and want to learn from, Twitter will keep you up-to-date on important conversations. It can be a great place to listen in on what people are talking about. Be sure to check out the comments and re-tweets to see where those 280 characters go and expand.
Blogs are really extensive and there is no limit as to what can be shared. The blog world started more like an online journal, but it has expanded to include more shareable information. Both can be super valuable in the adoption process. I find that these are not the easiest to find, but once you do find someone you connect with, you cannot take the information in fast enough. It’s very easy to fall down a rabbit hole in the blog world. Once you connect with one person, you will find many others that you want to read.
- Adoption blogs of people sharing the good, the bad, and in between about adoption
- Parenting blogs
- Education blogs
- Transracial family blogs
- Racial blogs
- Mom blogs
- Special need blogs
- You could even create a blog (maybe a private one) for a place to share about your child and his or her milestones and growth. You could share this with your family, friends, and birth family. You can set it up to allow for other contributors (more than one person can write entries) and your child will have this “journal” to refer back to for as long as they want—or until the host goes out of business.
Skype is a video conferencing platform. This can be used before, during, and after your adoption too. If you cannot be with someone in person, this is the next best thing and allows for more than two people to be engaged in the conversation.
- Meet with adoption agencies and attorneys from all over the world
- Ask questions to adoptive families
- Connect with others and form a support system with others in the adoption world
- Meet and connect with birth mothers and families
- Keep the birth family and your family in the loop with regular conference calls
Meetup is a place to find and build communities close to home. You get connected or find groups online, but meetup in person based on your needs or desires. You may be able to find a local group with adoption as part of their theme, but if not, do not be scared. Look for parenting, mom, or dad groups. Try it out and check to see if there are other adoptive families in the group. You can look for groups of specific races, ethnicities, languages, and causes too. And, if you cannot find what you are looking for, START ONE! These do not need a leader that knows everything. These groups need a leader willing to start a conversation.
Do you feel there is a hole in your heart that can only be filled by a child? We’ve helped complete 32,000+ adoptions. We would love to help you through your adoption journey. Visit Adoption.org or call 1-800-ADOPT-98.