Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Adoption Outreach

So I've been thinking lately that we need to step it up a bit and do some more adoption outreach. I've been subbing a lot this past week, and yesterday I had an "aha moment" when I was at a local middle school. In an attempt to encourage and inspire the youngsters, this particular school reads inspirational quotes over the PA system every morning. The topic for yesterday was hopelessness. As they asked, "Have you ever felt hopeless and like there was a problem in your life that had no solution?" I had the thought that hopeless is exactly how I've been feeling about adoption lately. The friendly PA system voice went on to say that when you are feeling hopeless, the very best thing you can do is take action. She read the following quote:
"Action is the antidote to despair."
~Joan Baez
I'll be honest, at the time I was listening to this, I was internally smirking a bit. I was thinking that this all sounds really good in theory, but that it's not always easy to take action when you truly feel hopeless. Then I was talking to my friend, Heather on Facebook, and she mentioned that there is a free web site where you can post your adoption profile. After looking around the site a bit, I think it's a really good idea. This has also gotten me thinking about other proactive things we might be able to do while we wait.

The bottom line is that we don't know how we will be matched with our birth family. As so many of the blog stories I follow have shown, anything can happen at any time. While I love our agency and feel very comfortable with them, they are very small, which is actually one thing I like about them. But--that, coupled with the fact that they provide social services, also means they don't do outreach of any kind. Birth families must come to them before they will have a chance of getting to us. For a long time, I sort of felt we should take a hands-off approach to this whole aspect of the process, but the more I think about it, the more I think maybe it's time to change that thought. I don't necessarily think letting fate take it's course means we should sit around and wait for someone to magically bump into us. I don't think there's anything wrong with us doing a little bit of mouth opening of our own, in a manner that feels comfortable to us.

I don't exactly know what this will entail, Michael and I will need to talk it over and decide what and how much we feel comfortable with. I certainly don't want to cross that line into a place where I feel like we're "advertising" ourselves, because that's a thought that's always made me feel a little unsettled. As with everything adoption, everyone has their own comfort/acceptance level with how, when, and how much they put themselves out there, so to speak. We will have to figure out what ours should be, but I'm confident in our ability to do that. What I do know is that I now--at long last--feel that I may be regaining a small amount of hope again. I have been through some of my lowest lows of this entire experience these past several weeks, and I am finally beginning to break free. Finally beginning to feel like me again.

As an extra (uplifting) aside, I also found the following quotes about taking action that I really enjoyed:
"You cannot change anything in your life with intention alone,
which can become a watered-down, occasional hope
that you'll get to tomorrow. Intention without action is useless."
~Caroline Myss
Know Action, Know Satisfaction.
No Action, No Satisfaction
~Victor Starfish
"Happy people plan actions, they don't plan results."
~Denis Waitely


Michelle said...

Hey. I dont comment much on your blog but I do read it. I wanted to let you in on how our birth mother found us. My husband created a website all about us, pictures of us, what we have been through and so much more. We went to or something like that and found a place you can make a website for free. We passed our site around to everyone we knew. EVERYONE. Anyone who would open it and read it we sent it to. Within 5 weeks we were contacted by a birth mother. A friend of cousin's friend of a friend- if that makes sense, was pregnant looking for a family. So we got in touch with an attorney and went fourth with the adoption. Our daughter is now 9 months old today. In case you need ideas feel free to check out the website my husband created for us,
I hope I could help you in the least bit. Let me know if you have any questions or would just like to chat. My blog is public so you can contact me through it.

Jamie said...

Melba ~
On June 22nd after only 3 months of waiting, I wrote this same post. :) You have been much more patient than I was and yes, I do feel that we can do our part to place ourselves in situations where we can be "seen". Action is key ~ whether our babies come to us through actions of our own, or actions of others....moving is essential for our well-being. :) There is a quote that I was given a while back that brought me a lot of peace. I just wanted to share it with you. :)

"Your soul has been through a great storm,
but all is not lost,
a kind light is coming soon,
to bring you hope & life.
You can rest now and wait...".
by Jen Lemen

Anonymous said...

I would have done exactly what you're describing if we'd reached a year of waiting and hadn't been matched. It's great to work with an agency that doesn't advertise because it's more ethically sound, but there are still things you can do. Michelle's advice is good. I've heard that it can be VERY helpful to write up an e-mail that is a shorter version of your "Dear Birthmother" letter and include a paragraph at the beginning that asks people to forward it to everyone they know, like a chain letter. Then send it to everyone in your address book except for colleagues. The people who love you WILL forward it on and many of the people they send it to will pass it on as well because they know you secondhand, etc. I've heard it works. A word of caution, though. If you post a profile on a free website like that, you might be contacted by women who are seeking private adoptions of their babies, involving large sums of $$$. Be prepared. :(

M/J Granata said...

What a fabulous idea!!!! Mike and I have entertained some outreach ideas! Our agency is small, too. We have collaborated with our SW to work on educating facilities on adoption as well as with increasing agency exposure. She is running with it and has really explored new avenues to get the word out about adoption, in general, as well as exposing our small agency! Thanks for the post! Can't wait to hear more.

hope548 said...

I think that is a great idea and I am SO happy that you are feeling better and ready to be proactive!! (My security word is "taters," just thought that was funny!)

Anonymous said...

"...I am finally beginning to break free. Finally beginning to feel like me again."

I can hear the hope in your words, Melba... I can. I think action sounds like a fabulous idea -- it's a new focus, a new idea, in some ways, a fresh start. I'm cheering for you... so, so glad you're coming out of the valley. (And you know I've been in that damn valley with you :)

Jessica said...

I know that I always feel better when I have a plan and can be working on something. Which is why adoption always brought me such peace because I was working on the homestudy...I was working on our fingerprints...I was working on the scrapbook...I was working on SOMETHING!

I wanted to offer a few ideas of ways to get the word out. We have friends who were matched with their birthmom through their family doctor. You might want to drop off info about your agency at area family practitioners or pediatrician offices. I didn't have to be quite that proactive on my own, since my agency did outreach, but I did let my doctor's office and OBGYN's office know. If you know doctors in your church or community group, pass the info along!

The website is a good idea. Also you might talk to a few bloggers that have worked with facilitators and specialists in addition to their agency. (Road to Adopt, Baby Mac, Miracuously my Own, Wendy and Steve at Our Story come to mind as people who have done one or both of these things I THINK!). And think abotu Rebekah and her got her matched!

Working with local women and children's services groups might be a good idea, dropping off agency info or donating your time and possibly making connections. Family counseling centers, churches with outreach programs, etc.

Be your agency's advocate in addition to your own! Our agency speaks to high schools and community colleges as well. Not sure what you could do there, but at least keep it in mind.

I think this is a GREAT idea and will at least help you feel like you're passing the time, and who knows where it might lead!

Malloryn said...

I think this is a great idea. We've also chosen to work with a small agency and have some of the same issues you do. I've been trying to think of other ways of doing some of our own outreach.

One simple thing you might want to try is joining the online community called Cafemom. They have a group called "Adoption Situations and Networking". We've posted and included a link to our profile here.

Evergreen said...

This is awesome - you feeling more hope, and taking some more action towards your match. I love your quotes - just what I need to hear (about non-adoption issues).

Mrs H said...


Good stuff

Nice to "hear" the chipper in your voice again.

BB said...

Melba! This is right where we were when we were placed. I was sick of sitting idle. I will post about this in more detail, but I wanted to share with you what we did.

I created a profile using just simple blogger. I used the posts to create the words and I included photos, and then I put photos all along the sides. I put just an email contact on it.

Then, I created a "business card" with our name, photo, email and link to the website on it.

My mom was here the week before R came and she left wednesday with a stack of 10 that she handed out to her friends in northern arizona on Thursday (the day R was born).

When R came home, I was busy stuffing and addressing envelopes with the letter and business cards. Those never went out, obviously. Only 10 left my home via my mom.

Three days after R came home I got an email from a woman who wanted to chose us. Obviously, we couldn't accept that situation and I refered her to a local friend, but one of those 10 people passed along the info and it may have ended in something. I think what you are doing is a great idea. I will post the details later on my blog!

Wendy said...

Melba -- I think it helps to be proactive. It makes me feel like I have a little tiny bit of control over the situation. :) We sent letters with a link to our online profile to our family and friends. We gave them to our doctors, dentists, etc. too. I also made a website like the first poster mentioned at freewebs:
It was really easy. I tried to make one on Comcast and it wasn't working at all...with the freewebs site you can go back on and change things whenever you want (very easily.)
I've thought about that free profile website, too. I had noticed that a lot of people on it gave out their last name and location - I just think I would avoid that if I decide to do it. Other than that, I think it's a good idea. Oh, and you want to make up an email just for that, too. Plus you might even want
a 1-800 number. That's something we haven't done yet, but probably should.

Good luck!