Thursday, July 1, 2010

New Website Features

Our website is going to be changed and is scheduled to come online sometime in July of this year.  We are excited about all of the new features that the site will offer to both birth parents and prospective families.  It will offer much more information about our services to be sure, but also it will have videos, pictures, testimonials and a new feature where we will have all of our families profiles online.

Birth parents will be able to browse our families profiles according to specific criteria such as location, openness, interests, likes etc.  It will be a interactive site and this new section will allow birth parents to explore and view our families and then have the ability to contact our office if they would like more information.

With all of the actual advertising our agency does nationally this will give our families an added dimension of exposure.  We are excited about it and we hope you will come and visit us online once it comes online.

Friday, June 11, 2010

The work keeps moving ahead

We have had three families matched recently through our outreach program.  In addition two families were matched through our traditional program this week. 

We have also had some personnel changes at the agency in the last eight weeks.  Our Director Melissa Williams who worked with us for just over two years has moved on.  Melissa brought a renewed purpose and energy to the agency and helped to bring about some changes to our policies and procedures that will last long after she is gone.  We miss her and hope only the best for her in the future.

Our new director is Don Hanson.  Don brings a deep commitment to continue to carry on the good work of his predecessor. Don's career includes extensive business background with international service companies.  Don has traveled around the world in the last 25 years and we are excited to begin working with him. 

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Outreach Update

Three families are currently in different stages of their adoption that have come on board to work with us through our outreach program.  Well, whats the big deal you might ask.  The big deal is that they all join the outreach program in January of this year. 

One of the factors that have contributed to their adoption success has been their openness to many different possibilities. Most families are getting match within 3-4 months in this program but for those who are matched within weeks it  is due to their flexibility to consider many different opportunities and therefore they are presented to a large number of birth parents. 

Exposure is the key for these families and the broader your adoption plan is the quicker you will most likely get matched. Of course there is no secret formula. But combined with maximum exposure to birth mothers, no upfront fees, and having the ability to adjust to individual adoption circumstances without much notice can maximize your adoption experience. For more information about our adoptive family services please contact Dave Williams at  801-473-9350

Friday, December 4, 2009

Getting Your Profile In front Of Birth Mothers

I was speaking to an adoptive couple recently about their methods of basically letting birth mothers, friends, family know they want to adopt. Some of their methods include word of mouth, Pass along cards, websites, and blogs.  Some of these couples are utilizing these tools as their sole source of being considered by a birth mother and others are supplementing the work of their professional adoption service provider such as an adoption agency, attorney, or facilitator with it.

I think it's a great way to spread the word about their desire to adopt.  One of the great things is it's relatively low in cost for the most part and certainly when you consider what adoption professionals charge for their services.  One of the drawbacks I feel is the potential for scam artist who understand the adoptive process and language and use that against a prospective couple for their own monetary gain and can leave an already emotional charged situation a painful memory.  Now that's not to say that many couples are not contacted through these means and are placed with a baby through their own efforts.  It's amazing what you can accomplish if you just put yourself out there and make it known to your community.

But it brings me to my mindset today.  When a couple decides to work with an adoption professional they are basically contracting with that professional to put them in front of birth mothers.  So it is very important that families understand that all adoption professionals are not alike in providing this key service.
An adoption service is only as good as the birth mother pool in which they work.  Birth mother pools come in many sizes.  In order for a couple to know how effectively their family profile will be shown to expectant birth mothers they need to know three things, 1 how many birth mothers are in your ACTIVE pool, 2. How many ACTIVE and PENDING families are currently working with that service provider 3. What are the fees needed to be included in those numbers.

If an agency for instance has 100 active birth mothers in their pool that might sound good at face value.  But if the active and pending number of families is 4 to 5 times that number you can expect that every birth mother they are working with will have 20+ profiles to consider before making their decision as to who they would like to have a conference call.  This can and does increases your wait time and decreases your chances of being chosen.  But if an agency is working with 100 birth mothers and their active and pending list of families is 100 to 120 you can see what a difference that could make for any adoptive couple.

Most professional services do charge a application or registration fee to you in order to help with home study review, file creation and access to their birth mother pool.  There is nothing new about this practice since it does cost money to provide these services.  These fees can range from $400 to $1000 in most cases.  If your contracted with the right agency your money is well spent.  

The Adoption Center of Choice where I work recently did a brief study of a couple who had not been match with a birth mother in two years.  They wanted to find out why and what could be done better for that couple.  Their research found that they had been presented to over 50 different birth mothers in that time.  Now while that may or may not be the case for every family working with us, it was for them.  ACC's conclusion was  to consider all factors and most likely make some rather dramatic changes to their family profile.  What startled me was the number 50.  In two years their profile had been considered by a very large number of birth mothers.  

So going back to what it is a couple contracting for with a adoption service professional, does anyone remember?  To put your family profile in front of birth mothers.  50 sounds like that part of the puzzle is being accomplished.  I don't know if pass along cards and the other admirable self promoting advertising can come close to that number.  What stops all families from doing this?  Well it's number three on our list, fees.

Private adoption can run upwards of $35,000 and that is not something everybody can afford.  Even if that is within your budget paying an application fee or registration fee to a service provider who cannot put in front of many birth birth mothers is a waste of your time and money.

So why you may ask am I thinking about such things on a Friday morning?  I'll tell you.  We have come up with a new idea.  What if you could reap all of the benefits of an active and vibrant birth mother pool and not have to worry about any upfront fees?  What if you could be in front of 25 birth mothers in one year and not pay a penny?  Would you be interested?

We have such a pool of anxious birth mothers all across the country.  We love our birth mothers and we go above and beyond when it comes to providing them quality services.  We have a need for new families and we realize in this economy we should do something to help you.  So to that end we are offering this as a free service for the month of December.

Here are some recent averages from our birth mother program 
What would you say is the average # of new BM calls a week/a day we are getting? 50-60
How many new BM packets are going out a week? 20
How many active BM are in our program?  75-100 total
In Utah 20 the rest out of state.
Active families 50 - Pending Families 40
Open to Caucasian Placement 75 % - Open to Biracial 20% - less than 5% Open to African American 

I am excited about this and I wanted to share it with you.  I am sure you have some questions about this program, I know I would.  So give me a call and I can explain it in greater detail.

Have a great weekend,

Dave Williams
Adoptive Family Specialist
The Adoption Center of Choice

Monday, November 30, 2009

The Phone Call

I was reflecting on my many blessings before the Thanksgiving month comes to a close.  One of the things that is a real blessing to me is making the call to a family to tell let them know a birth mother has chosen them to adopt her baby.  For me it is a miracle that I am put in this position to share this wonderful news with families.  For many of them it has been a real uphill battle as they have had to overcome personal disappointment.

The phone call itself is only the first step along the adoption placement journey.  It is a time of cautious excitement, and overwhelming hope.  My wife and I have been on the other side of the phone twice myself and I can appreciate the uncertainty of the moment.

I get emotional after everyone of those calls.  I am so happy for my family and it touches my heart that they can put down the emotional weight of not having children as they get ready to meet the woman that will place her child with them.

I am so grateful to be a stepping stone for them as they come closer to ending their adoption journey.

Change is Never Easy

Over the next two weeks our agency will under go some personnel changes.  We will be losing two valued members of our team and we wanted to thank them for their hard work, dedication and friendship before they move on.

Brittany who has been the voice and the face of the agency for the last year after changing positions in January has a new opportunity down south.  Natalie who is our new family worker and for many of you has been helping you organize your paperwork and get you ready for the home study process has a new opportunity closer to home that she will be excepting.  We are sad to see them go, they have been an integral part of the agency and they will be missed.  We wish them luck with their new positions and are excited for them.

Because of these changes we want to welcome a new member of our team.
Liliana Olvera will soon be taking over Brittany's position and will be working in the front office.  She will also be assisting new families with their paperwork.  We are excited to work with her and want to officially welcome her to our adoption team.

Our program has also undergone some new changes in the last year due to several factors.  We are excited about these new challenges and hope these new changes will only enhance the services we offer our birth mother and our adoptive family programs.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Don't Listen to Critics, Strive for High Achievement

In every difficult situation is potential value. Believe this, then begin looking for it. Norman Vincent Pealespan 

I was reading a blog post the other day about adoptive families and a prospective adoptive mother was commenting about some of her frustration as she has to endure insensitive comments from others who either say something stinging to them unintentionally or from those who have an agenda to keep regarding infertility and adoption. As an adoptive father of two myself I have endured some of these same things and I know they can be very painful.

The adoptive process is a true journey of the heart. The reasons that have brought couples and families to make this decision are numerous but in most cases it has been a refiners fire of sorts. Sometimes it seems like life is preventing you from achieving your goals. You define your goals right, you make them aligned with you values, you plan the time to work on them and then … something unexpected happens. Those who have never felt this pain or have never had to endure the many treatments and humbling procedures to get pregnant naturally will never fully appreciate the complexity of adoption.

For those who can plan when they want to get pregnant and have complete control over that part of their life it is a completely different ball game and the rules that govern it are not in anyway understood completely by those who cannot play. In the words of my brother in law who once told my wife as she shared her frustration and amazement with him about our infertility "I have the power to do it and so I do" with all the compassion of a police officer as he gives you a speeding ticket. It's not his fault he just can't relate to our circumstances and nor can we with him and that's okay. But it still hurts just the same.

In what seems a lifetime ago before I had the pleasure of working in the field of adoption I worked as a physical education teacher and coach for some 100 plus teams and over 1000 athletes for a small school in claifornia. I have coached youth from preschool age to high school age. I have had the honor to work with some very talented athletes and teams over my career. I never thought I would find something as fulfilling and as rewarding as helping young men and women reach their personal best in life through sport. I looked forward to getting up and over to school each day and relished the opportunity to work late after school with my teams.

I was wrong, working in the field of adoption is something that gets my heart racing everyday and I am excited to get into my office to begin helping adoptive families reach their adoption goals through our agencies birth mother program. The same fire that I had back then as a coach still burns brightly today and i am grateful for the opportunity. As I was thinking back to that time in my life I realized that some of the same struggles that I and my players went through could loosely apply to adoptive families and birth mothers.

One of my favorite quotes of all time and something I used to share with my teams after a tough loss or when I felt they need some encouragement was a section from the speech given by Theodore Roosevelt in 1910 referred to as "The Man in The Arena" which many of you may be familiar. Here is a quote form that speech that was later added to his book entitled Citizen in the Republic.

"It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat."

In my opinion, those of us who have adopted, are trying to adopt, or are contemplating adoption have had this experience to a greater or lesser degree. Adoption is a risky adventure that requires families to be valiant and sometimes there are failures as we go through the adoptive process and we can come up short time and time again but remember it is while you are daring greatly . The critic will always be there in some form or another but they do not count. The credit belongs to you as you spend yourselves in a worthy cause daring greatly and in the end the gift of a new addition to your family is your reward.