Two moms started a greeting card company to mark the different milestones on the adoption journey.
Jayne Alfieri and Stacy Clark initially met as two creatives in advertising back in 1997. Both from Tampa, a small industry led to them working together several times over the years.
But it wasn’t until 2004 that the two reconnected in a new capacity. Clark had just adopted her daughter Hanna, while Alfieri was in the process of adopting her daughter Emili. Neither knew that the other was going through adoption until one of Alfieri's colleagues suggested she speak to Clark for advice on the process, and they went from being professionals in the same space to deeply bonded friends.
"We supported each other through the hope and the worry and the wonder, the excitement and the sleeplessness," Clark told "Good Morning America." "We were able to have such compassion and empathy for each other because we were in it together."
The idea for their business, Adoptionly Yours, solidified in 2017, after the conclusion of a memoir-writing workshop centered on adoption that Alfieri and Clark were a part of.
Two of the participants were a couple going through the adoption process. On the last day of the workshop, they brought their new daughter to meet everyone.
"Everybody was crying and laughing," Clark said. "But Jayne and I never had a card for them. We didn't know how to celebrate their big moments along the way -- when they had the match, when they had the match fall through -- so we started realizing there's something here."
Both Alfieri and Clark, who also have biological children, had noticed a space that needed to be filled during their own adoption journeys. While their loved ones were supportive, they didn't quite understand the nuances and didn’t know what to say.
"At the time, both Stacy and I really leaned on each other," Alfieri said. "There are people out there that are going through this journey that don't really have support. It's through no fault of anyone's really. The conversation about adoption, the narrative, just wasn't there so we really felt compelled to create the narrative and uplift the conversation."
Alfieri, an artist, and Clark, a writer, decided to combine their skills. Alfieri drew what would later become the design for their first greeting card -- a mother and child hugging above the earth -- and asked Clark for a line to go with it.
"It said, 'In this great, wide world, we found us,'" Clark recalled. "And then we went, 'Oh, that's adoption right?' You find each other in the world and you come together and you become family."
By 2018, the pair had designed concept sketches for their first set of cards and sold them to a local adoption agency. In February 2020, they officially launched a website for Adoptionly Yours, complete with an online store.
Currently, Adoptionly Yours offers a selection of 112 greeting cards, all aimed at adopting families, birth parents, foster parents and children, social workers and supportive loved ones. The cards are also inclusive, featuring images of families with two moms, two dads and people of color.
As for how they come up with new designs, Alfieri and Clark base it around where they see a need and draw inspiration from other people's stories.
"What I like to do is to get into the heart," Alfieri said. "What are we trying to say here both visually and through words? How are we going to connect to the person that's receiving the card? Is this going to speak to that moment in their journey?"
"We think deeply about what it is we're trying to speak to," Clark added.
Through their cards, Alfieri and Clark aim to provide a pathway to understanding, education and empathy for all those involved in the adoption process. In addition to expanding their line of cards, the two hope to one day offer inspirational prints and create picture books for children that talk about the meaning of family.
"These greeting cards create the opportunity for people to connect in ways that'll really help them and celebrate this really important journey to motherhood that hasn't been supported before," Alfieri said. "We just created this opportunity for people to love each other through greeting cards."
"There's so much to love and understand," Clark added. "There's hurt, difficulty, and worry but at the end of the day, it's about loving a child. It's people loving each other and people coming together for the love of a child."