What You Should Know About Adoption “Business Cards”
Finding an adoption opportunity is a tricky business. Thousands of families around the U.S. hope to adopt, and making your family stand out from others can be overwhelming. You want to reduce your wait time, so you look into all the adoption advertising possibilities available to you. In your research, you may have run across “adoption business cards.” Some adoptive families swear by this marketing technique — but is it the right one for your family? Before you start designing your cards, there are a few things you should know about this advertising method.
What are Adoption Business Cards?Adoption business cards look different for every hopeful adoptive family. However, in general, they’re easily shared cards expressing a family’s desire to adopt. These cards usually include information about the family and their hopes for adoption, as well as a way for prospective birth mothers to contact them, if they are considering adoption. Typically, adoptive parents pass out these cards to family and friends — to get the word out and in hopes of getting their family profile in front of a woman thinking about adoption. While this method works for some people, it may not pay off for everyone. And, if you’re considering this marketing avenue, think long and hard about the ethics and disadvantages of doing so — not just the rose-colored advantages.
Why are Adoption Business Cards Risky?There’s a reason why adoption professionals encourage adoptive parents to be smart and safe about adoption advertising. Yes, these professionals are looking for clients — but it’s also because ethical adoption professionals have the best interest of prospective adoptive parents and prospective birth parents in mind. Adoption business cards were extremely popular in the early 2000s, when the internet was still a new beast for hopeful adoptive parents. But, today, there are a few better options. While adoption business cards may seem a cheap way to get your names and faces out into the world, many involved in adoption criticize this path, because:
- Business cards can cross boundaries. Most hopeful adoptive parents leave their “business cards” on local bulletin boards and listings, where anyone can place their personal information. But some adoptive parents take it too far — they leave business cards at doctor’s offices (especially OBGYNS) or on the store shelf next to pregnancy tests, in the hopes that some pregnant woman will pick them up and choose adoption. This is insensitive at best and coercive at worst; for example, a woman going to the doctor expects privacy and the right to make her own decision, not to be pressured with adoption information.
- You can’t control what family and friends do. Adoption business cards are often shared among family and friends, with the hope that the right person will see them. However, even if you are taking appropriate steps to ethically distribute your business cards, you can’t be sure your family and friends will. You run the risk of a loved one unethically approaching pregnant women with the card or leaving the cards in a doctor’s office or abortion clinic. These are rude, invasive steps — and, even though they were taken by your loved ones, they will reflect badly on you.
- You risk your privacy. Many adoptive parents who use business cards are pursuing independent adoptions, searching for a match without professional assistance. So, rather than include the name of an agency or lawyer, they include their own personal information on the business card. This may seem “transparent,” but it actually puts adoptive parents at risk, opening them up to adoption scams and other concerns.
- It could be illegal. Many states have specific laws about who can and can’t advertise for adoption — and what rules may need to be followed to do so legally. Adoption business cards may be illegal in your state, so moving forward with this advertising method would put your family-building journey in jeopardy.