The idea of making a profit from the adoption of babies turns my stomach but that’s how it works in many states. Illinois, my home state, deserves some credit for taking action to keep the profit out of the adoption process.
The state’s Attorney General, Lisa Madigan, has filed a groundbreaking lawsuit against the Adoption Network Law Center, a for-profit adoption provider that reaches families far beyond its home state of California. Prospective adopters in Illinois and elsewhere can find the Adoption Network Law Center quickly with a few clicks of the mouse. The company is not approved by the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services to place children, according to the lawsuit.
The Illinois case calls attention to the Internet’s vital role in the adoption process. It’s not an overstatement to say the Web has transformed just about all aspects of adoption including the way parents find babies to adopt.
It’s tempting for eager would-be parents to jump online to fast track their plans to build a family.
Adam Pertman advises parents to slow down.
“Educate yourself,” says Pertman, executive director of the Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute. “Don’t just do it by clicking on a mouse. Go to an adoption agency for an educational session. Become a more informed person. Understand this is a big important life decision that requires a process. It’s a process rather than just a transaction.”
You can love the Internet or hate it but you can’t avoid it so learn how to use it intelligently. The Internet is teeming with adoption agencies and other adoption providers – good ones, bad ones and everything in between. Weeding out the bad guys is not always easy for parents. The Adoption Institute offers a list of questions for parents to ask to assess the integrity of the providers.
The Adoption Institute is also conducting research on the Internet’s role in adoption. Adopted adults, adoptive parents, birth parents and adoption professionals are sought for this project. Check out the surveys (online of course). Each one takes about 15 to 20 minutes.