The thought of adoption can be emotional and overwhelming.
Bainbridge Island mom Erin Quick knows first-hand that adoption isn't easy. She is the CEO of PairTree, a platform that aims to fix that.
After years of fertility struggles, Quick and her husband decided to adopt and were blown away at the conventional adoption agency process.
"It includes burdensome fees ($40K-$60K), devastatingly long timelines (18-24 months), analog processes and is fraught with fraud and misperceptions," Quick said.
After months of research, Quick learned that adoptive families and expectant moms don’t have to use expensive, conventional methods to adopt. As a hopeful adoptive parent, Quick could build her own team consisting of a social worker and an adoption attorney and "self-match" with an expectant mom, saving the family thousands. So that's what she did.
"We hired a social worker in our state to 'approve' us to adopt, put an adoption attorney on retainer (telling him “we’ll call you when we need you"), and built an online profile with the goal of self-matching with an expectant mom."
"Within six weeks of posting our profile online, we were in a hospital room in Michigan holding our son."
Three years later, when the family was ready for another child, they used the same process and, within four months, they had a new daughter.
With this first-hand knowledge, Quick was empowered to help others and founded PairTree, a platform that provides all the services needed to navigate the major milestones of adoption in one easy spot.
"We like to say we’re modernizing adoption using technology to make the process better for everyone," said Quick.
Several aspects make PairTree different, like the technology used for personality-based matching.
"90% of adoptions are open — meaning the adopting family and birth family will have some level of contact/connection forever — which means making a highly-compatible match is exponentially more important," said Quick.
PairTree uses a proprietary matching system called LifePair™ that evaluates 120 personality attributes of the adoptive parent to help an expectant mother decide. This element takes the adoption experience beyond a profile and pictures. Consider it like a dating app for families.
In addition, Quick says PairTree serves all people.
"The industry as a whole hasn’t kept pace with the changing landscape and demographic of the people that it serves," said Quick. "LGBTQ+ families are growing 4% year over year in the US. And gay couples are 4x more likely to adopt than their heterosexual counterparts. Yet, because so much of the adoption industry is faith-based, LGBTQ families, single-person families, and certain faiths are denied service."
With more and more families relying on unconventional methods to build their families, PairTree exists to make adoption better – helping all families navigate their unique path through adoption.
It’s a service that Barret Anspach is thankful for.
"For my husband Seth and I, PairTree helped make the process of connecting with a birth mom transparent, simple, and straightforward, in a way no other service or agency could. In setting up our profile, we were able to take our adoption journey into our own hands and authentically represent ourselves there."
"We’re forever grateful to PairTree for being the platform that connected us with Iris, the birth mom of our almost one-year-old son Estes and a part of our daily lives."
In the first year, PairTree had more than 20 families match.
"The idea that we get to play a role in that process is a huge honor. But with that honor comes a pretty weighty responsibility. Our work doesn’t end when an adoption is finalized. In fact, we believe that is when a large portion of our work needs to start — supporting these families as they work together in service to the adoptees."
Regarding price, a home study with PairTree is $2,400 (and includes PairTree Matching.) For families that are already home-study approved, they can use PairTree Matching on a monthly basis. The monthly fee is $75 a month and there are no additional fees if a family matches.
"I get the honor of meeting with families every week, which is truly the most buoying part of my job," said Quick. "These families have more courage and resilience in their pinky fingers than most people have in their entire body."
To learn more about PairTree, go here.
Kate Neidigh is a freelance writer for Seattle Refined. Follow more of her work here.
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