Who's advertising for babies in the A2 Journal?
by Jeff Mortimer
"A beautiful secure life, love & joy awaits your cherished newborn," read a recent classified ad in the Ann Arbor Journal, the Heritage chain's free weekly paper. Another ad offered "A loving alternative to unplanned pregnancy. You choose the family for your child." The first was signed "Kari." The second gave a toll-free number but no name.
"I'm trying to find a birth mother on my own via my personal ad," explains Kari, who didn't give her last name but says she lives in upstate New York. Hoping to find a child to adopt, "I've been doing this since the fall, advertising in different states at different times." She hasn't gotten "a whole lot" of response, but says, "I've seen adoption agencies placing similar ads because they're looking for birth mothers to work with them."
One of those agencies, ANA Adoptions in Furlong, PA, was the other Journal advertiser. "We place ads throughout the country," says Andrea Totaro, ANA's director. "We get many calls from all of Michigan. I don't know if we have anyone in Ann Arbor, but we have a mom in Michigan right now who placed with us years ago and still stays in touch."
Disconcertingly, the agency's ad in the Journal was listed under the heading "Fast Cash Sell Classified"--perhaps because it offers "living expense assistance."
"We're allowed in Michigan to help with pregnancy-related living expenses and counseling," says Totaro. "If the mother has medical co-pays, we're allowed to help with that as well."
Totaro and her husband, an adoption attorney, lost their only biological child before adopting a son and a daughter. Their insiders' understanding informed their choice of an advertising medium.
"We do a number of free papers, including three that go out to people in Michigan," Totaro said. "For many of these moms, that newspaper in the driveway is the only publication they get. They don't have a dollar to spend on a daily paper."
[Originally published in February, 2014.]