(And How We Were Ultimately Matched)

When my husband and I decided to adopt via domestic independent adoption, I thought I knew how it would all go down. After all, I was adopted. Turned out? I knew nothing about modern adoption.

When our attorney told us that we would be responsible for finding our baby—which really meant we would need to find a woman willing to give us her baby—I was terrified. Mortified. And then I got to work figuring out how expectant moms and hopeful adoptive parents connect with each other.

Ultimately, we were contacted by eight expectant moms before meeting our son’s birth mom. It took nine months from the time our attorney started presenting our Dear Birth Mom Letter to expectant moms to the day we were matched. During that time I was so hungry (feral, really) for stories of how other hopeful adoptive parents had been matched. I just couldn’t fathom how it might play out for us.

So, I’ve written the words I would’ve loved to have read when we were still searching.

Top 5 Places Expectant Moms Found Us

Craigslist — Three women contacted us after finding our ad on Craigslist. It sounds so skeezy to advertise yourself on Craigslist, but it doesn’t have to be. Post your ad under ‘Community’ with a title that says something like, “Colorado Couple, Home Study Approved, Hoping to Adopt.” The women who saw our ad on Craigslist were happy to have found options for themselves and their babies. If your ad gets deleted by Craigslist trolls, don’t despair. Trolls will troll. My ads were deleted within hours, but they still reached at least three women. Here’s a Craigslist success story that I found inspiring: ABC News on Advertising on Craigslist

Facebook – Two women contacted us after seeing our post on Facebook. They weren’t friends of ours, but rather friends of friends. The most important thing you can do is ask your friends to share your post on their pages, ideally with a personal anecdote about how they know you—that you’re good people. This was our post: Facebook Post

3. Friends, Family, and Neighbors– Get one-page flyers made with your photo, a few short paragraphs about yourselves, and your contact information, and hand them out to everyone you know and come into contact with. One of the most exciting possible matches we had was brought to us by our neighbor four doors down.

4. Our Website – I am not techie, but I was able to build our adoption website pretty easily using Weebly. We had over 2000 visitors to our website, but none of those visitors turned into a match. But, when a friend of a friend saw our shared post on Facebook, she contacted my friend from college and asked where she could learn more about us. My friend sent the expectant mom our website and she was able to learn about us privately and on her own terms.

5. Our Attorney’s Professional Network – This is how we were ultimately successfully matched. Our attorney shared our profile with another attorney in his network. Family law lawyers call each other and say, “Hey, I’m representing a birth mom who’s looking for an adoptive family that lives in the city and loves dogs. She’s okay with them already having kids. You represent a family like that?” Yep, family law attorneys play adoptive parent Go Fish. One of the most important questions you can ask your attorney is: “Are you sharing our Dear Birth Mom Letter with other attorneys in your network?” It’s like getting two (or more) lawyers for the price of one.

“Yep, attorneys play adoptive parent ‘Go Fish.’

I remember being right where you’re at; I know the waiting feels unbearable sometimes. Stay true to yourself. Don’t try to be what you think an expectant mom wants; just be yourself. You never know what will resonate–one reason my son’s birth mom connected with our letter was that my husband was a Dallas Cowboys fan. Her uncle was, too. (Go figure.)

Stay true to who you are as a family, and the right expectant mom will find you.

Denise Massar is a writer, a mom via birth and adoption, and an adoptee. Her memoir, MATCHED, is about the nine months she spent obsessively searching for a baby to adopt in the Wild West of independent adoption, the eight potential birth moms she met along the way, and how—in a twist of fate—her son’s birth mom led her not only to her son, but to the one woman Denise thought she’d never meet: the woman who’d given birth to her. Matched publishes on August 13th, 2024. 

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