We have completed all three of our adoption training sessions – the final session dealt with networking in attempts to shorten our wait for a match with a birth family. This session provided lots of interesting information and recommendations for attorneys and agencies who are generally willing to take a waiting family’s profile into their pool without a retainer, or, in certain cases, for a small administrative fee. What’s confusing from the waiting family standpoint, is not knowing how all the adoption fees and expenses will pan out in the long run – How will they be allocated between the agency, the networked agency and the attorneys? A good question, to be sure, but one to keep on the back burner for now, since every birth family situation will be different and the fee and expense amounts and allocations will likely follow suit.
We also learned about best practices for creating a classified ad and a fliers, where to post these, how to handle contact from prospective birth families, and also, things to look out for when contacted by a birth family to make sure things are on the level.
As part of this networking initiative, we have contacted other organizations and venues, like local Planned Parenthood centers, churches, women’s centers, ob/gyns, maternity homes and the like, to find out what their policies were on accepting an adoptive family profile to keep on hand for occasions when a birth mother is thinking about adoption. What was most interesting – and surprising – to me was to see how drastic the differences are in how three different Planned Parenthood locations within the very same county handle these requests. They varied widely from “we don’t accept family profiles, but we refer them to agencies we work with” to “sure, send it over and we’ll keep it in the folder we show to women interested in pursuing adoption.”
If anyone has tried networking via the above methods (or through other, more creative and unconventional ways) to locate a birth family, and you have experienced success or failure, please share!