Adoption fund [EXPERIMENT] – Week 1

It’s been a week already since launching this announcement and experiment. It feels longer. It feels too like I’ve learned a ton.

First, the mistakes…

“No, the adoption is not an experiment, just the fundraising.”

On May 1, I should have started by just making an announcement, saying that I want to adopt and explaining a little about that. Then I should have posted the adoption fund experiment the following day or maybe even a few days later.

The problem was that two things were going on in that first post, two things that created too much tension. First, I was announcing that I was going to pursue adoption. Second, I was asking people to help fund that adoption. Too much at once overwhelms people and makes things unnecessarily confusing.

The worst part was that the “experiment” looked like it applied to the adoption. That’s not what I meant or mean. The experiment part of this is the fundraising – the adoption is for forever.

“No, I’m not actually bringing anyone home with me from Korea.”

I should have shared more details about the timing of all of this in the original post. In my haste to include both the announcement and the experiment in one post, I neglected to include any details about how anything was going to happen. I wanted to hold off on all that until later.

I still think the overall strategy was sound, announcing and then explaining the details later. I just should have added a few of the crucial details.

“No, I actually did think about this ahead of time.”

I’ve thought about this for a while, even though it didn’t seem that way from the announcement. I anticipated many of the responses I received, even though it might not have seemed that way from the way I responded.

My mistake here, though, was that I should have written the FAQ before the month started, well before.

This could have helped in two ways. First, if I already had some of the questions ready, I could have included them in the first post to help assure readers that I would respond to them in a future post. It’s great to get a ton of the same questions in my email box, but it probably could have saved all the senders some worry if I’d mentioned that I anticipated their questions ahead of time.

Second, though, I waited because I wanted to get real questions, not just made up ones. The problem was that when the announcement went live, people asked questions, and I didn’t have answers already worded. Of course, I thought I did. It’s been on my mind seriously for a few years, and I’ve considered it as a single parent for about a year now.

But writing it out made a huge difference in how I can articulate my responses, which is important when I need to respond to questions quickly and confidently while still maintaining the nuances of an authentic response.

One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned from this is that how I respond to the various questions is crucial not just for the people who hear the responses but for myself, probably even more so. If I’m stumbling to articulate myself, it shakes my confidence, like, “Wait a sec – I thought I knew the answer for that, but maybe I don’t.” Really, in most of the situations, I did have an answer. I just wasn’t ready to present it succinctly. Again, preparation, preparation.

As far as the experiment goes…

The first day, actually about twelve hours after I posted the initial announcement, turned out to be the best so far. This also coincided with America waking up to Facebook and getting my status update there.

This initial surge was good because it also turned out to be the day I got the most critical responses. Don’t get me wrong – the critical responses have been good too. It’s not all just bashing me. My friend’s are pretty awesome – I’ve only had a few of those. Most of them raise good questions, some I had considered but still needed to be asked and others I hadn’t considered before. That’s a huge advantage to going public.

After that initial group of contributors, things slowed to a trickle. I’m not sure how much of a difference it would have made, but I should have included a link to the contribution page at the bottom of all the “Why I want to adopt” posts.

I ramped up for the weekend, knowing my birthday was coming. I posted a cover photo on Facebook to raise awareness, along with a few other status updates.

For my birthday, I gathered a group of friends here in Korea to get together on the river and hang out. I invited everyone I’ve met here and friended on Facebook. Through this, a lot of friends here found out about this fundraiser.

Finally, for the first time in my Facebook life, I added my birthday to my info (this is an experiment in itself, one I’ll write more about later). This allowed everyone to see that it was my birthday, and as a result I got a ton of birthday wishes. Combined with my cover photo, some of the friends who jumped over the wish me a happy birthday ended up making their way to the adoption fund page and contributing.

Overall, it’s been fun to watch the waves come in and go back out to sea. I’m looking forward to experimenting with this more over the coming weeks.

If you’d like to contribute to the stats, you can add to the adoption fund here. If you’d rather not become any kind of stat, if you’d rather become a meaningful contributor, a part of the family, you can do that too at the same page.

In any case, remember my first mistake in all this: the fund is an experiment, the adoption is forever.