People are often curious about outreach cards, and if they would be beneficial in helping find an expectant parent considering adoption. When used correctly, without a doubt, the answer is yes!
There are two ways to use outreach cards in adoption. The first, which I don’t recommend, is to leave them everywhere in hopes an expectant parent might come across one and consider adoption. I’ve seen people report they leave cards next to pregnancy test kits at a drugstore (tacky!) or hand them to waitresses, baggers, or anyone else they run across (Ugh! How awkward for someone receiving an unsolicited card!). Not only is this a waste of time, money and energy, it’s not particularly useful in your outreach. It’s not your job to convince a pregnant person to consider adoption, and indeed, it could be coercive, and we never want to do that. And at a more basic level, it’s littering and you’re forcing someone else to clean up after you when you leave them in inappropriate places.
The better way to use outreach cards is to ask important people in your life to keep a few cards tucked away in their wallet, so if they’re in a situation where they hear about an expectant parent considering adoption, they can pull out a card and ask if it can be passed on.
Imagine your long-term hairdresser knows you’re adopting, and one of her clients comes in and talks about how her niece is pregnant and wants to place her child for adoption. Your hairdresser might scribble your number on a napkin and give it to her client, and the client might even pass it on to her niece. But now the niece needs to have the chops to call or text you, and if she’s anything like most young folks she’ll feel completely intimidated and never reach out. But imagine a second scenario where your hairdresser has your outreach card tucked in a drawer, and she passes it to her client. Now the expectant mama can see your photo, and she can get to know you a bit by visiting your online profile on your agency’s website, your adoption-specific Facebook page, or even your own website or online profile. She can get to know you and see if there’s a connection, and if there is, she’s more likely to reach out.
Your tribe – family, friends, church community, trusted professionals- each have their own tribes. By giving them outreach cards you’re widening the scope of your outreach exponentially. People want to help. In fact, I’ll bet those closest to you are desperate to help you achieve your dreams of growing your family. They love you. They believe you’ll make an amazing parent, and when they share your outreach card they’ll do so with a glowing recommendation of what a fantastic person you are. If your card lands in the hand of someone considering adoption you won’t be a stranger, you’ll be a “friend-of-a-friend.”
Before you make your cards consider what online resources you’ll use for your outreach. You absolutely need to be online *somewhere* since that’s the media expectant parents are comfortable using. You can create an adoption-specific Facebook page for this purpose, an online profile or website, or utilize your agency’s Waiting Family Page. For a deeper understanding of best practices for online outreach, check out The Essential Guide to Adoption Outreach available on Amazon, or a discounted digital download just for clients of Adoption & Beyond available here: https://www.ourchosenchild.com/the-essential-guide-to-adoptionoutreach-digital-download/buy-now Enter the code Adoption&Beyond at checkout for a 20% discount.
Outreach cards are possibly the least expensive and most impactful piece of your adoption outreach plan. You can have them professionally made, or you can make them yourself online. 250-500 cards will run you less than $100, and then your time and energy distributing them. Are they worth it? Absolutely!
Please check with your adoption professional to ensure outreach cards are legal in your state. Here’s a handy resource as well. This post was created by Joanna Ivey, and shared through our collaboration with Our Chosen Child.