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.
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?