I am a doer, a busy body, and a woman of action. So when we decided that adoption would grow our family, I was ready to run. While filling out application page after page, submitting background checks and getting fingerprinted, I felt that we were moving at a snail’s pace. I needed to be proactive and keep moving.

Fingerprints.  Background Check.  Health Records.  Check, Check, Check.

Fingerprints. Background Check. Health Records. Check, check, check.

Our agency had informed us that the majority of their adoptions happened through word of mouth–friend/family connections–not through their website. I took this information to heart and moved forward, educating myself on how to find an expectant parent.

Most agencies have an online gallery where adoptive hopefuls can share their story and add photos, videos, and letters to expectant parents. Expectant parents can browse these galleries looking for an adoptive family to raise their child. I like to joke that it’s very much like online dating sites. These are great tools for agencies to match adoptive hopefuls with expectant parents; however, for the most part they are very generic. Every couple has the same look and feel to their profile. How were we supposed to “stand out” compared to all the other couples? If an expectant parent were told about our profile, would they even find us mixed in with the thousands of other couples on our agency’s site?

I needed to promote our family and share our story, and we could, hopefully, find an expectant parent. Seven days after being approved and listed in on the agency’s adoptive parent profile gallery, we got an email from an expectant mom. In the past three years we have had one amazing placement with an open adoption, one failed placement, and dozens of emails written to and from expectant parents considering adoption for their child, and now, we are hoping to adopt a baby boy due in July. With a little luck and some careful planning, I feel like we have done a few key things that have allowed us to successfully attract birth parents.

1. Get PROFESSIONAL photos. These are not from your iPhone, and they not glamour shots.  Your photos should tell about your family.

We wanted our profile to stand out. To really show our personalities and our interests.

We wanted our profile to stand out to really show our personalities and our interests.

2. Create an adoption blog or website. If you are working with an agency that has an online gallery of your profile, your goal should be to drive expectant parents to your blog, which you can create with personality to really show who you are as a family.

3. Make an adoption video. Again, hire a professional to do this. Expectant parents can get to know you in a short amount of time during a video. They get to see your personalities and how you interact as a couple, and you can share your life with them.

4. Use social media. If you have Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram accounts, great. If you don’t, get them. Add everyone you know: friends, family, old schoolmates, and co-workers. Share your hope to adopt. How great would it be if a friend of yours found the missing piece to your family? #hopingtoadopt

Create a custom Facebook cover to remind your friends of your hope to adopt.

5. Have a BIG mouth. If you don’t tell people about your hope to adopt, no one will ever know.  Talk about adoption and how people can help you grow your family.

These five keys have helped us grow our family, and my hope is that they will also help you promote your family, share your story, and find the missing piece to your family.

We made business cards with our adoption email, and adoption blog on them.