Most adoptive parents understand some “adoption networking” on their behalf is important to their success, but what is adoption networking? Simply defined, “adoption networking” is the activities employed by prospective adopting couples to reach adoption-minded birth parents. Making a decision to actively seek a birth mother increases your chance of placement and may decrease the time you wait to bring a child home. You can do this by word of mouth advertising, and/or classified advertising. Both methods are successful and represent a growing major percentage of infant adoptions throughout the United States, according to AAI's founding director, Richard Van Deelen.

The Complete Adoption book by Laura Beauvais-Godwin and Raymond Godwin offers the following example of networking: “If you tell 25 people that you are interested in adoption, and they each tell another 25, you will have 'told' 625 people. This 'ripple effect' does work.” Adoptive parents must remember that they need only ONE birth mother, not 10, not 50. Reaching even one person who comes into contact with a birth mother, who in turn picks you as adoptive parents, makes it a successful networking campaign. Furthermore, adoptions that come together as a result of word of mouth advertising are generally based on a strong foundation of trust as the birth parent received a personal recommendation about the adoptive parent.

Social networking is another powerful method of networking, including blogging tweeting, and facebooking. These are free tools that have proven themselves to be successful in spreading the word. Adoption-minded couples can control the content and what others learn about them, and they have the potential for reaching a wide audience. Take advantage of the synergy of social networking by asking your friends to share your link through their social networks. Some couples are also posting short videos on Youtube. Another easy technique is to include a statement below your signature with every email, indicating “hoping to adopt – if you know someone in an unplanned pregnancy please pass my email address on to them.” The options are endless with social networking and the sky's the limit!

Some couples choose to go with a more traditional advertising plan, including distributing advertising cards, posting flyers in public places, making a classified advertisement, and mailing profiles to friends and family who may meet a birth parent. All of these methods are ethical, legal, and they work! Couples can and should take an active role to make their adoption happen.