Updated: Jun 13, 2021
When we had the idea to start a blog, the goal was two-fold. First, we wanted a platform to allow friends and family to follow our growing family. The second goal was to help other couples navigate the adoption process, specifically the self-matched adoption process. This post is all about how we did it. We hope it helps at least one family become parents. Enjoy.
First, let me share a bit of our backstory. Ryan and I struggled through infertility for nine years. Our infertility chapter consisted of one round of IUI (Intrauterine insemination), three rounds of IVF (In vitro fertilization), with the third round using donated eggs from my twin sister. We did get pregnant once with our second round of IVF but sadly that pregnancy ended in a miscarriage at seven weeks. We have wanted to be parents since 2012 but were not able to do it the old-fashioned way. This past summer Ryan and I decided that we would pursue adoption. We are planning a future post on why we chose adoption, so be on the lookout.
In September I started doing research and started adding myself to Facebook groups surrounding adoption, rapidly consuming as much information about the adoption process and community as I could. I came across a post stating to use Amy Imber with Connecting Hearts Adoption. I took the time to shop around and read various reviews on each adoption consultant I could find locally. For us, Amy was the clear-cut choice and surpassed all others.
Amy’s company has a checklist of what to do prior to having a home study completed. By nature, I am very much a “get it done” type of person and I started going down the checklist bit by bit. We had to complete background checks, have our fingerprints done, update our dog’s shot records, the list is extensive. I highly recommend reading over the list on Amy’s site linked above if you are considering starting the adoption process. It is an excellent place to start. Once we had completed all the necessary steps and gathered all the proper documentation, I reached out to Amy to schedule our first home study.
While we were waiting to meet with Amy to complete our home study, I arranged to have professional photos taken of Ryan and I. Professional photographers are not cheap, but we truly feel these photos played a major role in our ability to self-match so quickly. One of the first things we noticed when reviewing couple’s adoption profiles is poor photos. You must remember the photos, whether they be on a website, social media post, or a traditional adoption profile book, are the first impressions you are making on a prospective birth mother. Do not take the first impression lightly!
The next critical step in our process, was the creation of our website. We looked at several web hosting services but ended up using Spaces by wix.com. We chose Wix based on its ease of use and pricing. While Ryan does work IT, I do not, and I needed a tool that I could use on my own. I started vigorously working on the site layout and content. We focused on telling our story and telling it with passion. We wanted the site to grab people’s attention in hope they would share it with their friends and family. We shared pictures of our friends and family, giving people an opportunity to really get to know us in just a few minutes. We also wrote profiles, on each other. Again, we felt this gave people a chance to get to know us as a couple and parents to be. In all our website took me about 36 hours to create. I remember I started creating the website on Labor Day weekend at my sister-in-law’s house, and I did this all from my cellphone! I stayed up all night and worked on our site whenever I had free time that weekend. In between kayaking and hanging with the family, I got it done.
While the website was completed, we could not legally pursue adoption until our home study was approved. We plan to do a future post on preparing for a home study but for now we will skip ahead to the day we were approved by Amy at Connecting Hearts Adoption. We were approved on October 5, 2020 which meant we could finally publish our website and start spreading the word that we were pursuing adoption. I will add that we did not immediately post our site upon being approved. Timing mattered to gain traction and start momentum of our adoption campaign. We chose to publish our website on all our social media platforms on a Sunday evening. This is a time where most people are just relaxing and likely scrolling their phones.
The site took off fairly quickly. We had a few thousand views that night. This information or analytics as web folks say, are viewable from the Wix dashboard. We knew exactly how many people were viewing the site and where they were viewing the site from. We could also tell what social media platform led them to our website. This was very exciting to us as we instantly felt we could really pull this off.
But we would quickly be smacked in the face with reality that the world can be cruel, and you should be prepared for this if you decide to self-match. There are some shady people out there that get a kick out of being cruel to people. We were cat fished several times. Two times by the same person. These scams would be elaborate. Sending us fake photos of ultrasounds with stories that all sounded great through text but the moment we talked to them on the phone, we knew they were not legitimate. We were accused of trying to steal children and called horrible names and prank called non-stop. Which leads me to my next point. You need to setup a google voice account to avoid your personal cellphone being published. Do not post your personal number on your website! Make sure to protect yourselves.
Now that we have shared the bad part of self-matching, let us skip to the good part. Within 24 hours of our site being posted, we made contact with our first birth mom! She messaged us on our site and on our google voice line. It was insane. How did we already have someone reach out that was real? We ended up meeting her in person 5 days later and thankfully that initial meeting went great. We truly believed this was our birthmother. However, we went a while where we didn’t hear from her so we got nervous. We were worried she had chosen another family or decided against adoption. Remember we had our guard up from the prank calls and scams. Doubt starting creeping into our heads as web traffic started to die down after a couple weeks.
However, our luck took a turn for the best a couple months after the site was live. Birth mother two found us from halfway across the country on November 28th, 2020. Her neighbor, who we had never met and had no relationship with found our page and shared it with our birth mother. We arranged a facetime with the expecting mother and her family and we instantly hit it off. A process that started on October 5th, 2020 lead us to two newborn babies by April 13, 2021. This is how we self-matched with two birth mothers in less than 6 months.
Would you like to hear more? Does this process still sound overwhelming? Would you be interested in working with us? We have considered consulting with families looking to self-match adoptions. Not as a career but to help families just like us become parents. If you are interested, shoot us a message on our page or on any of our social media platforms. Thank you again for reading.
Edit 06/13/2021 - Since this post was originally created we have added a consulting page to our site. If you are interested in our consulting services please click the link below and complete the information necessary. We will reach out to you to schedule your consultation. Thank you!