Adoption ads go beyond the Penny Saver

Adoption If you were looking to adopt a baby from a young mother, where would you advertise? In a certain popular film, it was the Penny Saver. And indeed, a few years back, newspaper classifieds might have been your only easy option, though it’s hard to imagine that young pregnant women are a local paper’s core audience. Today, it’s a whole different world for a couple like Gideon and Michele. They are using social-networking sites to help their adoption hunt. You can find their ads on Craigslist, Facebook and MySpace, and they’ve created a site called I tracked down Michele (they’ve chosen not to publicize their last name) to ask about the couple’s Web-savvy advertising plan. Check out our Q&A after the jump.

—Posted by David Griner

  Q. How did you come up with this idea? Did you look to other examples of people who had advertised on Craigslist or in print publications?
  A. As far as national advertising, a lot of people who do independent adoption (like us—in other words, no agency involved) advertise nationally through the Little Nickel or newspaper classifieds or adoption portal sites like There are a lot of books you can read that teach you how to get the word out, with “how-to’s” on what to say in the ad. (Also, social workers, attorneys and adoption support groups can help, too).
  But we have not seen any info yet on advertising on Facebook and Craigslist. We came up with that on our own after putting several ads in newspaper classifieds for weeks—but there was little ROI. We know that young people today are online—and Facebook, MySpace, etc., is how they communicate with each other, especially when it comes to more personal info (and adoption is very personal and emotional).
  We also found that contacting us via e-mail is easier, too. It’s less scary than the traditional “phone call” that was the norm for over 20 years (when independent adoption started to become more popular). Nowadays, you need to be online. There is no choice anymore, in our humble opinion.
  So we developed a Web site ( that gave a lot of info on who we are—a place where people can go and check us out. Visuals are very important. People tell us we look happy, and that is what is resonating. Which is sooooo very cool. We are happy—but to have so many people get that "feeling" from our site is awesome.

  Q. What made you decide to advertise on Facebook? Was it the ability to target your ads to a specific audience (young mothers, etc.)?
  A. We decided to give Facebook a try mostly because we both have profiles on it and all of our friends and co-workers are on there. There was a trust issue, for sure. We like the product. And I think there are like 75 million people on Facebook—can’t go wrong with that. We figured if it didn’t work, we could cancel the ad. The investment was low-risk. We tried Google, too—don’t think that was the right forum. But Facebook has been incredible.
  Facebook allows you to target your ad, so we targeted it to women, ages 18-40. And the ads are working!

  Q. What kind of feedback have you received so far, positive or negative? Any interested mothers stepping forward?
  A. We have had a few good leads that we are pursuing—hopefully one will work! We have also had a TON of well-wishers—people e-mailing us wishing us luck It’s very nice, very encouraging. A lot of these people are adopted themselves or just adopted children, and they give you advice, refer you to various adoption agencies—it’s so great to see that the ad and Web site are resonating in such a positive way. That was an unexpected but terrific benefit.
  Of course, we have a had a few strange requests, as well (which we expected—all adoptive parents get that). Unfortunately, there are people out there who want to take advantage—and just being aware of that is important. There are a ton of things that people need to watch out for—people asking for money up front (that is a no-no, and most states do not allow that, anyway), people who sound too good to be true (usually are).
  But we remain hopeful. Honestly, it’s no fun adopting—though most people who go through it are OK in the end. Getting there is hard. No matter how “high tech” we get, in the long run, it will be the human relationships that matter the most.