The Secret Adoption FormulaPeople often ask me how my wife and I adopted so quickly. From approval to match, each of our two adoptions took four months. They would ask, “What was your secret? Was it your profile? Was it your agency? What did they like about you? I bet you had a great home study, didn’t you?”

When our kids were born, I started thinking about what it was that we did that led to our success and if there was something I could share with others that might help them succeed. Was there a secret formula for adopting quickly?

The truth is that luck or good fortune played an important role. We were fortunate that we were approved to adopt when our sons’ birth parents were looking to make an adoption plan. We were fortunate that we put our profile on our agency’s website before the mother of our oldest child’s birth mother visited the website. We were fortunate in many other ways, too, but what I learned to appreciate is that sometimes good fortune or luck is not the completely random event that we think it is.

It is probably safe to say that winning the lottery is a mostly lucky event. Other than the act of purchasing the ticket, there is no skill involved. Everyone has an equal chance of winning. But what about the element of luck involved in finding a job? Most people find jobs through their personal connections. They know someone who knows someone at a company who has a job that happens to be a great fit for them. That sounds like a lucky set of circumstances, but aren’t some people just better connected within their industry or better at interviewing than others and don’t they have an advantage? Of course they do. There is something more than luck at play.

So if luck plays an important role in adoption and if sometimes you can make your own luck like those who find jobs through their personal networking efforts, then what, if anything, did we do to earn our good luck? More importantly, is there something that any adopting parent can do to increase their chances of getting lucky? The answer to that question is a resounding YES and leads me to my secret formula

When it comes right down to it, the part of luck that is not completely random is the result of two simple things: putting yourself in the places of most potential where luck is likely to find you and preparing for luck to strike.

Put Yourself in the Places of Most Potential

First, to get lucky you must put yourself in the places of most potential—the places where luck has the best chance of finding you. If you are looking for a new job and are not leveraging your network of friends, family, and business associates, you are likely missing many opportunities for luck to find you. Someone in your network, either directly or through their own network, may know of a job for you, but if they don’t know you are looking, it doesn’t matter.

Being where luck can find you is only half of the equation. If luck finds you and you are not prepared to take advantage of it, then you still miss the chance for success. The second thing required to get lucky is that you must be prepared for luck to strike.

Be Prepared for Luck to Strike

Back to the job analogy, if luck strikes and you get a job interview tomorrow, what will happen if you do not have appropriate clothes, your skills are out of date, and you have not had or even thought about an interview for 10 years? Oops. Given the difficulty of finding opportunities, you certainly don’t want to miss one when it comes along.

So what are you doing from an adoption perspective? Putting your adoption profile in your agency’s book of adoption profiles is a great place to be because that’s the book your agency shows to expectant parents considering adoption.

But the goal is to put yourself in the PLACES of most potential. Where else can you be? The Internet? The PennySaver? A college newspaper? Facebook? In the minds of your friends, family, doctors, and others? Since you do not know ahead of time how luck will find you, you need to cast a wide net so you are there when it’s there.

What about preparing for luck to strike? When a birth family contacts you, are you prepared to appropriately respond? What do you share and what should you ask? Do you have a strong sense of the type of contact and openness you want and where you are most flexible? What about being prepared to assess and manage the risks inherent in adoption?

So is there a formula for success? I believe so.

Adoption Success = PL + (PP x R)


Adoption Success = PureLuck + MakeYourOwnLuck

where MakeYourOwnLuck =

Being in Places of Most Potential x Being Ready for Luck to Strike

Don’t leave your adoption success up to pure luck.

Make your own luck starting right now.

We offer two great courses focused on helping you be in the right places and helping you be prepared for luck to strike. Consider both.

Adoption Advertising & Networking provides great outreach ideas to help you find potential birth parents and to help them find you. Our Tips for Talking with Expectant Parents course prepares you for those first email and calls, the match meeting, negotiating ongoing contact, the hospital time, and much more.