When Jayne Alfieri was in the process of adopting her daughter, Emili, the mom of two was keenly aware that her friends and family had no idea what to say to support her during her journey.
"A child doesn't just come to your door, it's a hard journey." Alfieri, who also has a birth son, told TODAY Parents. "I don't think people really know how to talk about it. My own family really didn't know how to talk to me about the waiting and the worries."
Throughout the process, Alfieri bonded with another adoptive mother, Stacy Clark. The pair would meet for coffee and talk each other through the tough parts of their adoptions.
"We realized we were on this very profound life journey and not a lot of people understood it," said Clark. "People didn't always know what to say to us: They didn't know where our hearts were or where our hopes were. They didn't know if we were grieving for our daughters' birth mom or worried about waiting for our child to come."
The pair's friendship led to an idea: A line of greeting cards designed to offer words of comfort and support throughout each stage of the adoption process. After selling cards out of their studio for several years, Alfieri and Clark launched a website for their business, Adoptionly Yours, in 2020.
"You get on the internet and look for adoption cards and there aren't too many places that have that category," explained Alfieri, who has drawn the artwork for each of Adoptionly Yours' more than 100 greeting cards. "There are over 100 million people touched by adoption and we can't believe that this conversation is not part of a bigger picture."
Clark, a writer, calls adoption "part of the fabric of our world," adding that Adoptionly Yours has cards not only for parents in the process of adopting, but also for social workers, birth mothers, foster parents and more.
"In order to support adoptive families, you have to really look closely at this journey," said Clark, who has an adopted daughter, Hanna, in addition to a biological daughter. "It's a journey of loss, it's a journey of hope and it's a journey of beautiful moments that are built on difficult moments, too."
"In our journey, one of the most beautiful things for us is watching the connection between the adoptive moms and the birth moms," said Clark. "We have one card that says, 'I'm a mother because you are.'"
The first card the duo designed also has a special place in their hearts.
"I came to Stacy one day and said, 'I have this beautiful picture of a mother and daughter, I need a line for it,'" Alfieri recalled. "The card said, 'In this great wide world we found us.'"
"We just said, 'Wow, this is what adoption means to us. People finding each other in the world,'" Clark added. "We knew as moms who had birth children and adopted children that the path to becoming family was very different but the love was the same."