One of the hardest things about building a family through in vitro fertilization or other fertility treatments is that you have no control over the process.
You go into the clinic, get the treatment, then you go home and wait, hoping for the best.
But once you get to private domestic adoption, everything changes. Depending on how proactive you are, you not only have more control over the process. You have the tools to build your family faster and more affordably.
It all depends on how hands-on you want to be and, of course, luck.
Many prospective parents go through an agency today to find a baby. But due to the high cost of adopting and the disruption caused by the pandemic, more and more of them are turning to independent or self-matching adoption.
Unlike working with an agency, you have the opportunity to find a baby on your own by connecting with expectant parents with an adoption plan.
Self-Matching Allows You To Find A Match Without An Agency
It’s not always easy and it’s not always straightforward; but then few things are in a process that is as unpredictable and complicated as adoption.
But if you’re careful, patient, resourceful, and resilient, it’s an option you might want to consider, especially if your other efforts to build your family aren’t producing the results you were hoping for.
Self-matching adoption is an alternative to adopting through an agency. Instead of the agency calling the shots, you do.
But even if you are working with an agency you can still self-match. It just means more options to connect with an expectant couple and become a parent sooner.
Self-matching in adoption can take many forms.
In the past, word of mouth was the main ways to do it. Somebody knew somebody who was pregnant and thinking of adoption.
But now with shelter-at-home restrictions in place as a result of COVID-19, people aren’t meeting in the flesh or interacting as much any more so the potential to make connections that may has dropped.
From work to school, more and more facets of our life are moving online these days. And adoption self-matching is no different.
Whether it be through a website, social media, blogging, discussion groups, or an adoption self-matching website, more hopeful parents are looking for a match on the web.
Joining a self-matching website like America Adopts! is less expensive and easier than creating your own website. It’s also less time-consuming than maintaining a social media account.
Adoption Self-Matching Sites Can Connect You Directly To Expectant Parents Who Aren’t Ready To Parent
Just like a dating site, adoption self-matching websites are designed to connect you with expectant parents interested in adoption. In return for a monthly subscription fee, they will post and network your profile in a way that will reach a larger and more targeted pool of people than you could on your own.
Expectant mothers use the service for free and can use filters and other tools to narrow down their searches by location, race, religion, age, marital status and other criteria that are important to them.
Today, some hopeful parents face restriction when it comes to working with agencies. If you’re LGBT or single or aren’t the right religion or age, you fewer options to find a match.
Self-matching adoption sites level the playing field by being open to anyone who is qualified to adopt. In our case, it means having a completed private adoption home study and living in a state where adoption advertising is permitted. That’s also a safeguard for any expectant parents you’ll connect with since it means you understand the importance of providing them with independent counselling and making sure that the process moves forward properly, according to state laws.
Adoption Profiles Sites Increase Your Online Exposure
Every self-matching site offers different features and has a different fee structure based on a number of different factors. But if the main reason to join one is to increase your online exposure, that’s a good place to start your search.
Given that most expectant parents will find the site and your profile through a Google search, do a search yourself and see which sites show up in the results and on what page.
For instance you might start by entering keywords such as
- “Adoption profile profiles”
- “Parent profile site”
- “Adoptive parents profiles”
But an expectant parent who just found out she is pregnant and looking at adoption would likely use search terms like
- “I’m pregnant and want to give up my baby for adoption”
- “Unplanned pregnancy + put up baby for adoption”
- “How much does it cost to give up baby for adoption”
Or she might use search terms like
- “Find adoptive parents for my baby”
- “Looking for someone to adopt my child”
- “Find family for adoption”
Once you get to the site’s home page, take a look around. How inviting does it look? How easy is it to navigate? How do you find the parent profiles? Are any posted on the home page?
Next, see how many hopeful parents there are. The more there are, the less chance you’ll have of getting noticed and creating a connection. The number of hopeful parents will always outnumber the number of expectant parents looking to make a connection. And that means not everyone on the site will get matched.
If five expectant parents visit the site and you’re one of the 25 couples on it you’ll have a better chance of getting noticed than if there’s 100 couples.
The More Adoption Profiles On A Site The Harder It Is To Get Noticed
Take a look at the profiles themselves—how easy are they to find once you leave the home page? Are they all stacked on the same page or over different pages? How many clicks does it take to find them? The more profiles there are, the more overwhelming it can be for an expectant mother, especially if she’s desperate and needs to make a decision quickly. And the more clicks it takes for her to find you, the harder it will be seen and make a connection.
Next, look at the website’s social media networks. How many do they have and how many followers? Can you get extra exposure on them? How often do they update their feeds and how relevant is the content to expectant parents? Apart from posting profiles of their adoptive parents, does the site or social media accounts have information that is of interest to a woman with an unplanned pregnancy?
After that, look at the fees if you haven’t looked at them already. How do they compare to other sites? What’s included and what’s extra? Most have a fixed pay-as-you-go monthly fee that you can cancel any time and no additional matching fees.
What do you get with your subscription—on top of your letter and photos, can you include links to your media accounts and personal website, post videos or keep a diary? How many photos can you share and how big and clear are they?
A Match Is Not The Same As An Adoption
Some sites set themselves apart by promoting the number of matches they’ve had. Matches are a factor when choosing a site but keep in mind that a match is not the same as an adoption. Many times a match will fall through because the expectant mother changed her mind or it came from someone trying to dupe you. And sometimes the match may not come from the site at all, but from an agency or other adoption specialist that the hopeful parents are working with.
Because self-matching sites are targets for scammers, some services will try to set themselves apart by publicizing their safety features or ethical practises. Find out more about them before you sign up. Sometimes they’re more marketing-related than meaningful.
For instance, a match site can only find you a match. It doesn’t have any say about what happens after a connection is made. That depends on the parties involved and their adoption professionals. Match sites are simply tools that help bring hopeful parents and expectant parents together. The site may say it encourages ethical adoptions but that’s about the extent of it.
Self-matching profiles sites with safeguards to protect you from scammers can make you feel more comfortable about signing up. But there are ways for scammers to get around them. They could also end up creating barriers to finding a match. Not every expectant parent wants to create a separate login or go through a series of steps to access a profile. And they would rather speak to the adopting parents directly rather than go through the adopting parents’ adoption specialists.
More Security Barriers Can Lead To Fewer Matching Opportunities
The more barriers and hurdles there are to reach you, the greater the chance that the expectant parents will go elsewhere to find a match. Just like you, they have privacy concerns and there’s only so much information they want to share, especially if they’re going through a crisis pregnancy or have had run-ins with child welfare, police or other institutions.
Keep in mind that self-matching adoption sites can only help you find a match. They’re not agencies and they’re not licensed to perform adoptions or do any of the legal or medical work Finding a match on your own is just the first step in the independent adoption process. You still need to work with experienced licensed professionals to ensure that the expectant parents get the counselling and legal representation they need to make an informed decision.
But for many adopting and expecting parents, a self-match site can be the spark that lights up your relationship and gives you the opportunity to connect in a way you might not have otherwise.