Steps to Networking – Step 93: Adoption

Written By Rick Frishman Published April 19th, 2010

STEP 93: Adoption

Networking plays a vital role in at least half of the open adoptions in the United States, according to Renee Wall Rongen, Principal of the Adoption Resource Group ( In an open adoption, couples that wish to adopt go through an agency, an attorney or find a birth mother who will agree to let them adopt her child.

Rongen advise couples on open adoptions of children born in the US. She encourages couples to design business cards that contain their:

• First names. The cards can also include last name if they wish
• Home address
• Email address
• Telephone number. Rongen suggests that couples install a separate number exclusively for adoption calls
• Photographs, especially if they are photogenic and
• A statement such as, “Loving couple looking to expand family through adoption,” “Loving, financially-secure couple looking to form their family through adoption,” or “Well-educated couple looking to adopt.”

Rongen recommends three or four color cards printed on a glossy paper stock so photographs can be in color and the cards will stand out. Cards may also include bullet points for items that the couple wishes to stress such as their great health, existing family, financial security, education and others.

When their cards have been printed, Rongen advises her clients to compose a letter to everyone on their Christmas list and to all their business contacts.

In each letter that they send, the couples should enclose at least five of their cards.

The letter should state, “Dear _____, I feel awkward sending you this note, but we are trying to adopt a child and need your help. Today, adoption entails taping into our friends to ask if they know, or have heard, of someone — perhaps a friend, a neighbor or a relative — who is having a baby that she may want to place for adoption. If you do, please give her one of the cards we have enclosed and ask if we can call her.

Could you also post the enclosed cards at locations that birth mothers, birth fathers or their parents frequent. For example, obstetricians’ offices, maternity shops, college campus bulletin boards, coffee shops, book stores, gyms, fitness centers and car washes.”

Since some recipients, especially older and more traditional folks, might resent or be offended by such letters, Rongen suggests inclusion of a “get-out quick clause.” Such clauses are also ideal for “spiritually grounded” people. The clause should be placed at the bottom of the letter and should read, “If our request makes you uncomfortable, we ask you to please pray for us during this process.”


Rongen instructs her clients to always carry plenty of their cards. A couple she was working with was attending a food festival where they met lots of new people. One couple asked Rongen’s clients if they had any kids and they replied,

“No, but we’re looking to adopt.”

“Oh, wow, you should hook up with my neighbor’s daughter,” their new contact said.

So Rongen’s clients handed the couple their card and asked them to give it to their neighbor’s daughter. A week later, the girl called and they ended up adopting her child.

In addition, Rongen suggests that her clients network through the Internet by checking the numerous adoption sites and discussion groups. Many adoption sites allow couples to post a “Birth-Parent Letter,” which contains their photographs and explains who they are, why they want to adopt and additional information. Rongen warns her clients to carefully screen all birth mothers who contact them through the Internet.

Finally, Rongen recommends that her clients send a separate, more formal letter, with their cards, to professionals such as attorneys, accountants, doctors and professors. She also advises them send similar letters to college spiritual centers and to college medical clinics, which is the first place many pregnant college girls turn. In this letter, Rongen’s clients introduce themselves, state that they are hoping to adopt, explain why and explain what they can provide. The letters should also include the couple’s photographs and ask the recipients to post their cards.

(Excerpted from NETWORKING MAGIC: Making Connections That Will Change Your Life By Rick Frishman and Jill Lublin With Mark Steisel)

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