Today, social media is used by people of all ages to connect, discover, and update loved ones on their daily lives. Because social media is a way to connect and share with others, social media platforms can also be a useful tool in helping connect birth mothers with adoptive parents, and staying connected both during and after the adoption process.
While social media is a wonderful tool for sharing updates about your adoption process and getting exposure as a family that is looking to adopt, keep in mind that an adoption happening after matching through social media is uncommon. But for those that want to pursue any and all possible routes to find a birth mother, having a clear social media plan in mind can help you navigate the world of adoption on social media.
To create your adoption social media plan, take a look at these tips for what you should be posting and when to post about your adoption journey.
Create a Separate, Adoption-Focused Social Media Account
Whether it be a blog, or an additional Instagram or Facebook account, we recommend that adoptive parents create a social media account that is dedicated to adoption. Your current accounts may contain an overwhelming amount of content that isn’t relevant to your adoption journey or something you’d want to share with strangers. Separate, adoption-focused social media accounts will be more shareable, are likely to get more exposure in groups or forums, and better attract the attention of potential birth mothers.
Another reason to create separate accounts devoted to your adoption, is you protect your own personal information and the information of friends or family that interact with you on social media. Hopeful adoptive parents often create new accounts without their last name, and instead go by “Tom and Kathy’s Adoption Search,” “Jenny’s Adoption Journey,” or “Krista and Martin Hoping to Adopt” as the name or username in social media accounts.
Create Adoption-Positive and Diverse Content
Adoption can be a sensitive topic for some, so be sure that your posts use positive adoption language and are birth mother-friendly. Take great care to be politically correct with your language, focus on the benefits of adoption, and be respectful towards birth mothers and those in the adoption triad. Keep in mind that your posts are public, can be seen by almost anyone, and may receive comments. If you choose to engage in the comments, make sure that you do so in a respectful and positive way.
Your posts’ content should about yourself and your family. Just like what you’d put in an adoption profile book, post about your hobbies, experiences, and anything else that would give a birth mother insight into you and what her child’s life may be like with you.
It can be difficult to come up with new and diverse content about yourself that may catch a potential birth mother’s interest. We suggest posting different fun facts, likes and dislikes, travels, seeing family or friends, holiday celebrations, outings, or events you may attend. You can even try to put a spin on some regular errands or daily activities, by tying it to your family and what life would be like for your child. Try to be consistent and create a new post each week, so that there are consistent updates. We also recommend that photos be in good lighting and evoke a positive emotion. Photos with faces and especially candid photos will also show more personality and add interest.
Be Mindful of What You Post During the Adoption Process
Before posting any milestone of your adoption process, you should consider the birth mother’s feelings and privacy, and make sure she is comfortable with what you’re sharing through social media. Find ways to post updates that are focused on your family and the baby, in order to protect the birth mother’s privacy and avoid any unwanted attention.
Consider waiting to post about and celebrate certain moments. Even though baby showers and gender reveals are common in social media, adoption is a legal process that has a different timeline, so consider when it is appropriate to celebrate or share the news. For example, if the adoption was to fail and you had already shared details on your adoption, followers may be curious or reach out, and it may be difficult to share this news. Consider talking to an adoption professional, who can clarify when the consents are irrevocable vs. finalized, if you have concerns about when it is appropriate to celebrate or share adoption news on social media.
Social Media After the Adoption Process
One of the best parts about having a separate, adoption-focused social media account, is that this account is a record and even a digital scrapbook, documenting a part of you and your child’s adoption story! You can leave the account public as an example for other hopeful adoptive parents on social media. You can turn the account private and keep as a digital archive of your adoption story, that can be shared with your child, family, or friends.
Many adoptive parents even continue to post updates about your child as they grow up. This can be a great way to promote adoption or a way to share updates with family and friends. Depending on how open the relationship between birth mother and adoptive parents may be, this can also be a way for the birth mother to see pictures and receive updates on the child. However, it is important to ask for her feelings on the matter, as it may be difficult for her to see images of her baby when she goes to her social media accounts.
And Most Importantly…. Communicate with your Adoption Professional!
While hopeful adoptive parents can try to independently search for birth mothers through social media, we always recommend that adoptive parents consult with their adoption professional for a number of important reasons. First, your adoption professional should be doing outreach to birth mothers on your behalf, so we don’t recommend spending money on your own social media advertising.
Second, adoption professionals typically have years of experience and can assist in the process by filtering out possible scams. Case workers have worked with birth mothers in all types of situations and are able identify various “red flags” of a scammer, or signs of an insincere birth mother who may be trying to receive financial assistance but has no intention of placing a child for adoption. Case workers want to be sure that a birth mother is in fact pregnant, and intends to place her baby, before proceeding with an adoption match.
Having the birth mother communicate with your adoption professional in the early stages will help filter out any birth mothers who many not fit your specifications. Depending on your preferences for gender, race, level of contact, and whether there has been any drug use or prenatal care during the pregnancy, the birth mother who contacts you through social media may not fit your desired criteria. Adoption professionals can speak directly with the birth mother and go through these difficult topics to find out whether the match would really be a good fit. This way adoptive parents can focus on bonding with the birth mother instead of screening her with tough questions regarding finances, the birth father situation, or any other information case workers gather.
Finally, and most importantly, adoptive parents should consult their adoption professional about their specific state laws specific to advertising in adoption. Each state can have very different laws about how adoptive parents are allowed to advertise for birth mothers or their hope to adopt. Your adoption professional will be versed in state adoption laws and ensure that you are lawful in how you advertise and connect with birth mothers. In some states, it can be illegal for adoptive parents to advertise for adoption, so always consult your adoption professional before embarking on any paid advertising efforts.
If you have more questions, AdoptHelp is a resource for birth mothers and adoptive parents to learn more about the adoption process. We’ll help you through every step of the process and will answer any questions you may have about the social media plan you should follow for before, during, and after the adoption. If you have any questions, give us a call at 800-637-7999 or visit us at www.adopthelp.com.