Maybe you’re just beginning your adoption journey and you’re not sure where to start. Maybe you’ve been on your journey for a while, but you haven’t made much progress.

So I’m here to help you jumpstart (or just plain start) your adoption journey. When you’re trying to make your family standout from the seemingly endless sea of people hoping to adopt, it’s easy to lose that hopeful part in the hopeful adoptive parent title. That’s why you need these tips to use the greatest tool on earth to your advantage: the Internet.

1. Learn to use social media to your advantage.

Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, and Youtube can have a hand in helping you find the “one” (I mean the woman making an adoption plan who’s out there, right now, looking for you).

Use social media to share your adoption journey with others. Create a Facebook page dedicated to updating everyone and anyone about what’s new in your family’s adoption journey. Share everything that you feel comfortable sharing. The most important thing to remember about using social media to gain attention is consistency. You don’t need to write novels or share award-winning photos of your family. You need to consistently be yourself. Share your values, what your family life is like, your dreams for your future child, the hardships you’ve overcome. Share your story.

2. Create an online adoption profile that can give you as much exposure to potential birth parents as possible.

Publishing an adoption profile on a high-traffic adoption site could get you matched in a shorter period of time, like this couple. There’s some adoption profiles services with proven track records, like Adoption.com Parent ProfilesSM, that help you create the perfect profile to share. Not to mention Parent Profiles is part of the leading adoption website, averaging 500,000+ unique visitors per month. With Parent Profiles, you can personalize your profile with photos, videos, favorites, recommendations, and endorsements. Not sure what those things are or why you need them? Well, let me explain.

Your adoption profile should include photos that tell your family’s story in the most compelling way possible. Think of it as your first impression. Videos are an excellent and almost essential way to share your personality; you can read more about why you need a video in the next tip. The recommendations element allows your friends and family to brag about how awesome you are, and are super important to give you credibility with potential birth parents. I mean, let’s face it, you are pretty awesome, but it’s less awesome when you’re bragging about yourself, so let someone else do it! And let’s not forget about favorites. This is where you add your favorite brands, foods, activities, sports, entertainment, and more to your profile. This simple and customizable part of your profile is a great way to connect with potential birth parents through shared interests. How cool would it be to make a connection with a potential birth parent who shares your favorite TV show, band, or flavor of ice cream? As you use all of these different elements to customize your Parent Profile, you will be increasing your connection opportunities with potential birth parents.

However, as you are evaluating the different adoption profiles sites, be sure to consider why you are really on the site, which is to have the most exposure possible to potential birth parents. Be sure to select an adoption profiles site that can give you the most exposure possible. (From our research, Adoption.com has far more potential birth parents visiting their site than any other adoption site.)

3. Create a video of your family announcing your plans to adopt.

There’s no better way to get your personality out in the world than getting in front of the video camera. Then be sure to share it on all those social media accounts, adoption profile, and blog you’ve been working on. If you need some inspiration, check out this adorable video or this equally adorable one. If you’re less inclined to create your own video, some places offer services to help you.

Some hopeful parents think that they need professional filming and lighting with multiple camera angles for a great adoption video. This is often not the case. The “YouTube Effect” can mean that an adoption video that is a little shaky and doesn’t have perfect lighting can be more credible than a “perfect” video that is deemed to be “corporate” and not credible (or personable). Creating a great adoption video is probably easier than you think, and can be done with your iPhone or other smartphone camera.

Once you’re done filming (and let’s face it, that’s the hardest part), you can use an inexpensive or free video editing software, like iMovie, to make the finishing touches. We recommend you keep your video short, probably less than about two minutes, but try to show all the incredible parts that make you, you. For example, don’t just sit on the couch and say you love animals. Instead, have a friend video you playing with animals. Or, if you love to ski, run marathons, or play with your nieces and nephews, don’t just tell us, but include some video that shows us. Actions speak louder than words, right?

You can do this. You’re not aiming for perfection here, you’re aiming to be you and connect with the right expectant birth parent. And, you probably have a friend or family member who is comfortable filming and editing video who could help you if needed.

4. Start a blog.

Maybe you’ve been hesitant to start a blog because you don’t feel like you’re a writer. But I’m here to nudge (or push) you into just doing it anyway. Blogs are like a diary for the world to see or, in this case, a couple making an adoption plan. You can share all your thoughts and feelings. Having an online presence is just so darn important. Don’t be discouraged if you’re not reaching as many people as you would like. You only need to reach one.

You can use sites like Blogspot if you’re less techy and WordPress if you’re more familiar with creating websites. When you’re writing your blog be sure to share tons about you and your family without being long-winded. Share current photos and keep your blog updated. Consistency is key if you want to be taken seriously. A blog is not something you start one week and then never look at it again. Make sure to keep your blog unique to you. You can gather inspiration from others, but don’t let yourself get lazy and become like all the blogs you’ve already looked at. You can read this to get a few more ideas for creating an adoption blog.

5. Put up some ads.

I’m not just talking about posting on your local Craigslist. Facebook ads and Google ads in particular are cheap and easy to create. Or if you’re not up for it, someone else can put ads up for you. Think about how much time you spend on Facebook and Google and then think about how much time everyone else does, too. It’s a great way to reach the attention of those making an adoption plan. Be sure to check your state’s laws on whether you’re allowed to advertise independently as it may be illegal in some states.

6. Beware of scammers.

It’s a sad part of the hopeful adoptive parent life, but scammers are out there. A good way of thinking is to trust, but verify. Remember to never send money to an individual; use an agency or lawyer to process fees. Baby bumps and ultrasounds are not proof of pregnancy as these can be forged. Your lawyer or agency can acquire medical records to verify a pregnancy. It can be awkward or uncomfortable trying to avoid these scenarios, but it’s necessary to protect yourself. Check out these other tips to prevent being scammed.

We’re in living in the age of the Internet, so why not use it to help create your family? If you’re looking for a little more help be sure to check out our other resources like our guide on how to adopt a baby in the US or join our community to see what’s happening in the adoption world.