Going Online to Adopt

I guess it was inevitable. People use the Internet to shop, play games, find dates, review products, socialize – the list of online pursuits goes on. Now people are using social media to adopt babies or offer them for adoption.

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It’s a growing trend, according to the Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute, which recently released a report about the profound effect the Internet has had on the adoption process.

The Washington Post profiled a gay couple who had spent about a year trying to adopt a baby through a local adoption agency. Eager to get the process moving, they created a website and placed an ad on Facebook promoting themselves as wonderful adoptive parents. “Loving gay couple in D.C. area seeks open adoption of a baby. Contact us if you’d like to place your baby in a home full of joy.”

A woman who was five months pregnant spotted the ad and got in touch with the couple.  The three got to know one another corresponding by email and Skyping for several months. In October 2010, the two men assisted in the birth of the woman’s baby, who they ultimately adopted. On their website, the happy dads have posted photos of themselves with their little boy, Kyler. They would like to adopt another child.

The men stay in touch with their son’s birth mother, who told the Washington Post she felt very comfortable giving her child to the couple to raise. “Gay baby daddies are the best baby daddies,” the woman told the newspaper.

Based on what I read, I think this particular situation worked out well for everyone. I like the openness between the adoptive parents, the birth mother and the little boy, Kyler. I like knowing the two dads got to know the birth mother, and she in turn got to know the men, before the adoption took place. I even like the way the dads put themselves out there with a promotional website.

But in general, I don’t know how comfortable I am with using Facebook, Craigslist or other sites as adoption tools. While I understand the obvious appeal for eager would-be adoptive parents seeking babies and birth mothers who want to give up their infants, I wonder how wise it is to cut out the monitoring, professional counseling, and other steps that are part of traditional adoptions.

In its report, “Untangling the Web: The Internet’s Transformative Impact on Adoption,” the Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute recommends that adoption-related websites be routinely reviewed for exploitation or other illegal or unethical practices by policy and law-enforcement officials.

How do you feel about using social media for adoption purposes?

7 thoughts on “Going Online to Adopt

  1. Lynne, you raise excellent points about new modes of adoption; I agree that a thoughtful debate about these issues is needed. Thanks for a great post!

  2. This is a great post Lynne; it really is scary how technology and social media is changing everything. I’m not sure I agree with using the internet for adoption purposes; in fact I find it rather worrisome. Thank you for sharing such an interesting issue!

  3. Thanks so much, Melanie, for reading and posting a comment on my blog. It’ll be interesting to see what happens with the online adoption “industry.”

  4. Thanks, Sarah, for reading and commenting on my post. I agree it’s scary how social media and the Internet in general has changed how humans live and interact with people.

  5. This reminds me of the old days when couples wanting to adopt would take out newspaper classifieds. I think the difference is the vastly greater reach of social media and other online resources. I don’t think that is a bad thing. As long as money isn’t changing hands maybe the Internet is helping the right people find each other.

  6. Cutting out the “middleman” isn’t always a bad thing. I just hope all parties treat one another with respect and there’s no pressure or shenanigans. Thanks, Tom, for taking the time to read and post a comment.

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