By Gabe McAteer
A typical adoption agency is not unlike any other business. It needs revenue, has overhead costs, and is subject to changes in the market. From a business perspective, there are successful agencies and unsuccessful agencies alike, but when an adoption agency is forced to close its doors, it continues the ongoing debate regarding the variables that contribute to the shutdown of an adoption agency.
Chuck Johnson, the CEO for the National Council for Adoption thinks a number of factors are at play when agencies close, like long wait times, the continuing decline in international adoptions, and even the internet for making it easier to finalize an adoption without an agency. One of the more outlandish “factors” came from The Independent Adoption Center, an agency that filed for bankruptcy in early 2017, they claimed that “societal changes” was shrinking the pool of expectant mothers.
As for Johnson’s claims, it is true that international adoptions have been in decline for the past 12 years. However, when I consulted the CAIRS staff about the other claims (lengthy wait times, the internet, and societal changes) we found ourselves in disagreement with Chuck Johnson’s statement and were bewildered with the Independent Adoption Center’s claim.
Efficiency in Adoption
The technological revolution of digital marketing has only made wait times shorter for agencies who have embraced digital marketing. Internet marketing has two benefits; it finds expectant mothers at a much faster rate than traditional advertising and its half the cost of traditional advertising methods. For agencies that invest in birthmother marketing, their “lengthy wait time” of two or three years, is cut in half, sometimes more.
Overcoming Industry Obstacles
Unfortunately for international adoption, not much can be done to combat their declining numbers when you are subject to the will of the U.S. Department of State and other sovereign nations. As for the obstacle of “societal restraints” impacting private adoption, every woman should be well counseled on the options available to her, adoption or otherwise.
Sink or Swim
What the problem seems to boil down to in people’s minds is a lack of expectant mothers, and though many women are choosing to parent, raising an agencies visibility through digital marketing can impact the wait time. Longer wait times constrict revenue flow and can lead to some adoptive parents being apprehensive about adoption as an avenue to start their families.
The topic of failing adoption agencies is a concern of ours, especially when an agency fails due to their inability to find expectant mothers. A digital marketing campaign for expectant mothers has proven to work for our clients, and we are proud to be making an impact in the adoption industry.
Shortening the wait time should be an agencies primary objective. Not only does it give agencies more revenue but it promotes the brand image of the agency as being trustworthy with parents who are out of options when it comes to starting their families.
As always, sources are below. Three of the links were not necessarily sources used for this article but instead are harrowing realities of what happens when an agency fails its clients.