Starting a national conversation about adoption

mother and daughter playing


  1. Audience Discovery
  2. Ideation/Co-creation
  3. Brand Strategy
  4. Visual Identity System
  5. Awareness Campaign
  6. Collateral Design

There are over 140 million orphans in the world. That’s 17 New York Cities. A huge need for these kids to find permanent, loving homes exist. However, many families never consider adoption. And, those who do soon encounter a long and difficult process.

Why do people adopt?

We worked with Bethany, the largest adoption agency in the country, to better understand what motivates a person to consider adoption and, ultimately, adopt.

FiveStone led a qualitative, ethnographic research project talking to families who had considered adoption but decided to abandon the process or never start it. We also spoke to families who completed the adoption process.

We found that most people viewed the adoption process as long, complex, and expensive. On top of that, most viewed adoption as something you did to “get a child.”

Collage of adoption families

Changing the narrative

We found an interesting thread among families who had adopted during our interviews: for them, adoption was a “calling.” Based on this insight, we flipped the narrative from “can I get a child” to “adoption is a calling to help a child find a home.” This reframing eroded the major mental obstacles to adoption.

FiveStone created a strategy for a national campaign that promoted that narrative. We then designed and managed the campaign for two years.

Wireframe of adoptions design
Tony Dungy adoption conference

Adoption is everywhere

FiveStone extended the campaign beyond the services of Bethany by assembling strategic partnerships with top non-profits. This allowed us to create the first peer-to-peer fundraising platform for adoptive families along with a national directory of local, trusted adoption agencies.

Representatives from the campaign participated in a White House meeting on Adoption hosted by the Obama administration.

In addition to national and local media coverage, the campaign team was presented a national leadership award for “making a significant difference in the lives of families.”

“FiveStone cared about our organization and our campaign, but more importantly, they cared about our cause. It was clear from the passion they brought to the project that we were not just ‘another client.’”
Marc Andreas

Vice-President of Marketing (former), Bethany


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