We are nearing the end of the year, so I (Sarah) thought I’d take this opportunity to reflect on the year in which Vicki and I started #WASO and The Adoption Social.
Back in January Vicki and I started discussing the possibilities of providing a place where adoption bloggers could link up their blogs on a weekly basis. We played around with different names and then someone, could have been Vicki’s OH, suggested The Weekly Adoption Shout Out. It sounded right, and we liked the abbreviated hashtag and so #WASO was born.
We launched the link up on January 25th and we will end the year having done 48 weeks with a special mid-week #WASO too.
It has been amazing to watch it grow and gain recognition within the adoption blogging and twitter community. It has not changed much over the year, apart from the introduction of the fortnightly themed posts, which are always optional. During these weeks we’ve covered many a topic, such as education, early years, support, siblings, contact, and many others, that have inspired lots of bloggers to write some great posts.
With the success of #WASO, Vicki and I were enthused to think about other possible ways in which we could support and promote the creative and caring on-line adoption community. We decide to create a website, which would become the home of The Weekly Adoption Shout Out and include content, contributed by ourselves and other bloggers, which would be of interest to and support other adoptive parents and adoptees.
It was decide that we would promote the use of social media to encourage others to access the understanding community we had found on-line.
We were both excited about the idea, but very nervous about the prospect of being able to deliver this exciting initiative, could we do it?
The Adoption Social launched on June 14th, a Friday of course, so we could start with a WASO. Even after promoting the launch well, we were not prepared for the response we got on our first day of over one and a half thousand views. The site has continued to have a steady readership throughout the year, although not quite as high as that on a daily basis.
So including this post we have featured 190 posts to date, from many generous contributors.
We’ve included posts about the often less talked about aspects of adoption, writers have shared their worries and concerns, we’ve aimed to support and help those in difficult times and we’ve also had a little bit of fun. What’s more, we’ve come together to have our say, as was evident in the collective response made to an article published in the Guardian called “what’s in a Name?” if you missed it read more here. Over the Christmas and New Year period we will be re-posting our ten most popular blog posts, so have a look, you may have missed something.
National Adoption Week saw us trying to breakdown some of the barriers, which people perceive exist to becoming adopters, find out more here. We featured a range of posts, from a single mum to those in a same sex relationship, an adopter living with a disability and someone suffering from depression and many more, all in the hope of encouraging people to consider becoming adopters. It was an exciting and busy week for The Adoption Social and personally one of my favourite and most memorable weeks of the year.
Very soon after we attended The Adoption UK Annual Conference and, along with The Open Nest Charity, we hosted an exhibitors stand, to promote the site. The Open Nest Charity have been very supportive of all the work we do and they have extended resources to us, without which, among other things, we would not have been able to participate in The Adoption UK Conference, as we did. As exhibitors we were able to talk to many attendees both from the social work sector and other adoptive parents, about The Adoption Social and our aim to provide support.
It was also a fantastic opportunity to meet other adoption bloggers who were also attending the conference, and finally put faces to all those blog names and twitter ID’s.
The response we got from those we met was hugely positive and really provided a boost to us and what we are trying to achieve on our website.
And so the year now starts to draw to a close and I look back with fondness at the year gone by, forgetting those frantic moments of searching, pleading and worrying about content. I know Vicki and I have both had days, weeks, when it is very hard to find the focus for what we need to do to keep things going on the site, I’m sure many of you understand. But we do manage, and actually I think we both find that doing the site provides us with an amazing amount of encouragement and motivation.
It really is wonderfully rewarding when we know that someone has found support, some empathy, solidarity or a tiny bit of insight from something we’ve posted, and that makes it all worthwhile.
We’ve said it before and I will say it again here, we really couldn’t do it without every single one of our generous contributors. If you have written something for us this year we thank you whole heartedly…. and if you haven’t yet written anything for us, we’ll be back next year and you can do it then.