Dear Mardie,
In our local “Penny Saver” paper that is delivered free each week, we have noticed a few ads from families wanting to adopt. Is this recommended?
Great question!  It can and has worked for many families, including one in the Adoption for Life program just recently!  There are restrictions on who can advertise by state so be sure you are following the law.  Penny Saver type of papers can be affordable ways to reach a lot of people, but there are other low-cost ways to network too:
Denominational Newsletters/Inserts: Different parishes of Catholic churches have ads that are sent to members in various areas.  Many members who have businesses choose to advertise. If allowed, you may wish to consider placing an ad for your birth mother search.  You may wish to gear it toward “If you or someone you know is pregnant and considering adoption, we are a fully qualified Catholic family ready to adopt.”  Many of these papers will let you add a photo as well as direct contact information.  Other churches/denominations have small magazines/newspapers that go out to a larger area.  See what yours offers.
Volunteer With People Who Serve Potential Birth Mothers: Though it really isn’t advertising, networking at places where birth mothers frequent can be another way to reach people.  Consider volunteering at a food bank or school that is in an area that serves young mothers. Through meeting people, your adoption search may come up.  Don’t lead with it, though. You need to truly be there to serve, and with that service you never know who you may meet.
Make Connections That Make Sense: If you are open to a drug-exposed baby, see how you can help, support, and network with your local methadone clinic.  If you are open to an older child, make a connection with the crisis care nursery in your community.  Be careful not to make it look like you are just trolling for a baby, but find a way to truly be of service and make a connection with them.  They may tell you they can’t share your information, and that’s okay. Just move on to something else.
Create and Use Tear Sheets: These little sheets are amazing!  Customize, prepare, and do a weekly or monthly run to put them up at laundromats, grocery stores, and anywhere else that has a bulletin board.  Get your family members who live in other areas and states to do the same.  You never know who may see one, grab a slip, and call!  Keep them simple.
There are a million ways to connect with birth mothers.  Try to remember that you only need ONE birth mother to create a successful adoption!