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What is Adoption Networking?

Your home study is complete, you’ve taken the required training and you’re now officially on the ‘waiting list’ with an agency. You’re probably wondering: “Now what do we do?” If you’re like most prospective adoptive parents, you’ll find waiting for a match to be the most difficult part of the adoption process.

Most social workers and other adoption professionals will tell you that there are few babies available for adoption and that you’ll wait years for “the call.” Don’t despair! While there may be fewer babies than say, 30 years ago, there are still many adoption opportunities in Canada and abroad. But you just can’t sit around and wait for an adoption opportunity to knock at your door. You must be persistent and proactive in your approach.

Educate yourself about adoption in your province or territory, how the process works and tell everyone you know about your dreams to adopt. Find out if your province or territory allows prospective adoptive families to advertise their desire to adopt. Some provinces/territories have strict laws in regards to adoption advertising so proceed carefully and ask your social worker(s) what’s acceptable.

The following are a few suggestions if you plan on adoption advertising or ‘networking’:

Create a Family Profile
Most adoption agencies, whether public or private, will require you to create a profile of your family. This profile will be shown to birth parents who are considering adoption for their child as well as to social workers who are looking for families for children on their caseloads.

A family profile usually includes a letter you’ve written describing your family, why you want to adopt, your views on parenting as well as adoption. You’ll also want to include lots of photographs of you, your extended family, pets and home. The point of a profile is to connect with potential birth parent(s). There’s no right or wrong when it comes to profiles and some families go to great lengths to create elaborate scrapbooks or media presentations. Others, use word processing software to format their letter and photos. The most important thing to keep in mind when creating your profile is to be honest and to be yourselves.

You just never know what the potential birth parent(s) will connect with in your profile. It might be a photo of your family, something funny or heartwarming that you’ve written or just the overall feeling they get when they read your profile that compels them to choose you.

Here are a few tips we’ve compiled from various sources about creating a profile:

  • Be yourself! Don’t exaggerate the size of your house or pretend to be someone you’re not. Birth parents and/or social workers are NOT looking for the Jones’ or perfection.
  • Include lots of photos. The old saying, ‘A picture says a thousand words” is very true! Incorporate lots of photos in your profile and ensure that they’re clear and a decent size. Make sure to include captions or anecdotes about them.
  • Be respectful. Many agencies are now advising waiting adoptive families not to address the letter as: “Dear Birth Mother” or “Dear Birth Parents”. This is because the person who is viewing your profile is not yet a birth parent – they are an expecting parent until they have made and followed through with an adoption plan. An opening like “Dear Expectant Parent” or a sentence like: “Hello! Our names are Jane and Jack and we’re hoping to adopt a baby” are considered more appropriate.
  • Ask the adoption agency you’re working with if you could view some of the other profiles or those that have resulted in successful matches.

Create a Web Site About Your Family!
If your province/territory permits adoption advertising, an excellent way for ‘getting the word out’ about your desire to adopt, is to create a web site that could potentially reach millions of people. Many waiting families buy a domain name (www.yourfamilyname.com) and convert their hard copy profiles into a web site. In fact, this domain, www.adoptiveparents.ca, was used for this very purpose once upon a time!

With a web site, you can edit your content, add or delete material as often as you like! You can then e-mail everyone you know about your web site and even submit it to search engines like Google and Yahoo! You just never know who could stumble upon your profile and make an instant match. If building a web site seems like a daunting task, click here for more information about how we can design your web site with your profile.

Join “Parent Profiles” at adoptiveparents.ca
Adoptiveparents.ca now has a section for prospective adoptive parents to post their profiles. For just $200, you can have your family’s “Dear Birth Mother” letter and photographs posted in the “Parent Profiles” section of this web site. Click here for more information.

Network, send e-mails, call professionals!
Networking for a domestic adoption (private or public) can be done quite easily if you have access to the Internet and some time. Your first priority should be to create a profile that can be sent through e-mail or converted into a web site. Next, once you ensure your profile is in order, your next step is to research and gather contact information for people who can connect you with possible adoption opportunities.

E-mail is the most cost effective means of reaching lots of people (sending your profile in the mail can get pretty expensive!) and it’s also the fastest. Write a brief and concise letter explaining your desire to adopt a child, a short rundown on you and your partner (if applicable) and attach your profile. Make sure to include your phone number as well as your social worker’s contact information if the party has any questions about you or for future reference should an opportunity arise.

Some people and/or places to contact include:p>

  • Doctors
  • Planned Parenthood
  • Abortion Clinics
  • Church Leaders
  • Social Workers
  • Youth Counsellors

Many of these professionals/organizations are online with e-mail addresses. Create a database of contacts for each type of professional you’re contacting. We strongly advise you to personalize your e-mails so that your email is not regarded as SPAM or worse, a scam.

* NOTE * If you’re adopting through a government agency like the Children’s Aid Society in Ontario, send your profile with a cover letter to adoption workers at all of the agencies in your province. Ontario’s CAS agencies are not linked together so only your region’s CAS will have your profile and information. So, if you want to increase your chances of adopting, send your family’s profile to many CAS agencies. Before doing so, call each agency and find out the name of the adoption worker and ask him/her if they’ll accept your profile to keep ‘on file.’ Most adoption workers will accept your profile but will only look at it if they cannot find a family in their region for a particular child.

Also, if you’re hoping to adopt through the government system in your province, keep in mind that most social workers have lots of families on their caseloads. Don’t get lost in the shuffle! Create and submit your profile and contact your worker regularly to ‘check in’ with them. Be proactive but don’t be pushy.

If you’ve sent your profile to other agencies, private or public, check in regularly with the adoption workers so that workers will remember you should any potential matches arise! Good luck!


 



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