Last August, when we first met M, the birthmother we met last August, one of the questions we asked her was how she found us. M didn’t know the particulars, just that she got a stack of adoptive family profiles to go through, and that she picked us out of that stack.
We’ve pieced together a few details to conclude that at some point, either an adoptive family or our agency, the IAC, had contacted someone at this hospital – maybe sent information to the social worker that we met. That person worked with M to search for families using iheartadoption.org, using a variety of the searches there.
Expectant folks (they might or might not be birthparents / birthmothers at this point) can search by all kinds of factors – whatever they’re looking for in adoptive parents. They also fill in their specifics – race, various histories, etc. When those things match what an adoptive family is looking for, then matching family information comes up. Each family has a page on iheartadoption.org, (here’s a link to our page!) and each page has a link to the letter that each family writes. We saw that M had a black-and-white printed copy of our letter, printed from our iheartadoption.org page, which is what she used to make the decision to call us.
So – back to that initial contact with the hospital: that’s what started the ball rolling for us last August. If you’re a long-time reader of this blog, you may remember this blog post from 2 years, 7 months ago, about a week after we went “live” with our agency. where I talked about a new project we were starting – sending letters to various places in our state to say that we were hopeful adoptive parents and to give them contact information (more on that in a minute) and a brochure for the IAC. Though I did all the research to find names and addresses, the letters never happened – our adoption coordinator at the time didn’t totally dismiss the idea, but I got the feeling that she didn’t think it would be much more than busy-work for us and I decided to forego the idea.
Fast-forward those 2 years seven months ago to now. Though I knew that M had seen our profile, I didn’t think much about how that process happened until the past month or so and I suddenly connected the dots. This letter writing project took on a whole new level of importance in my mind.
About the time I decided to get back in gear with the blog, and with the Littlest’s Facebook page (click here to like us, please!), I called our adoption coordinator (a different person from before) to talk about this idea again. She surprised me by being totally supportive, even volunteering to send us addresses. She’s taken on a sort-of personal project of outreach, so she has a lot of contacts already and knows who will be receptive and who will keep our information on file for when a situation arises and who is more likely to toss it in the trash.
Our letter basically says who we are, that we’re interested in open adoption, what open adoption is and why it’s important, what agency we’re working with – that it’s national but has a local office in NC, and that we hope that they can keep our information with other items they might use when speaking to someone coping with an unplanned pregnancy. We include a brochure for the IAC and some pass-along cards that list our toll-free number, Facebook info, iheartadoption.org page as well as our photo.
So far, we’ve concentrated on County Health Departments and medical offices (OB-GYN, primarily) in counties surrounding our own, reaching out to the more populated areas of North Carolina as well. In the past two weeks, we’ve sent out 25 letters, with many more to come.
It seems like a small thing, and nothing may come of it. And we know that it’s possible that these letters might not even be read, or might be read and tossed, even after careful thought about who might be receptive to receiving our information. However, weighed against the thought that the best.kid.ever might find his/her way to us through one of these letters, and it’s an easy decision. It’s old-school, but it might just work.