Nowadays, Facebook, Twitter and other social networking sites are very much part of our lives. They are a great way to connect with loved ones and friends and to keep ourselves updated with each other’s lives. As with other aspects of our lives, social media also has its effect on the adoption process.
We hear of stories of couples who had a hard time waiting for a placement and who decided to advertise via social media. The lucky ones were able to find and meet their birthmother and successfully complete the adoption process. There are also less than happy stories of hopeful prospective parents who turned to social media and who became victims of adoption scams.
Aside from the opportunity to get a match and build a family through adoption, social media has become a common “staging area” for reunions, where either the child, the parents or the birthparents come in search of the other party. It may be through the use of the “search” function or through posting an ad about one’s search. Social media can also be a “gathering area” for people who are looking for a support group (i.e. birthmothers connecting with other birthmothers).
These instances just go to show that social media is simply a tool – an effective tool, no doubt, but one that is to be used with care. Forming families through adoption via Facebook and other social media sites may negatively affect adoption practice and the industry’s efforts to maintain its ethical standards.
If you are a parent hoping to make an act of love adoption, here are some things to be reminded of when it comes to social media:
– Don’t get your hopes up too soon. Hearing from a prospective birth mother after months or even years of waiting for a placement can lift up the spirits. However, try not to emotionally invest in informal private messages and chats. Tread carefully. This is not to discount that there are real cases of parents and birthparents getting united through social media, but there are also cases of people who came home disappointed.
– Remember that there are legalities to the adoption process. In short, it is illegal for anyone to offer babies for a fee. Also, only those licensed and accredited adoption agencies (such as A Act of Love Adoptions) and professionals licensed in your state are authorized to facilitate adoption placements.
– Do not send money to someone you do not know. The general rule is that if something is too good to be true, chances are, it is, especially if you are dealing with someone you do not know and someone who does not have a “legal” or traceable identity (that adoption agencies have). Thus, when a person you do not know claims that she is pregnant and is asking you to send money for “expenses”, think twice before sending that money order or depositing some money to an account.
– Work with a reputable adoption agency or professional. Even when you have a proven link to a mother who has decided on adoption, it is best to course the process through an agency. This is especially true if you are unfamiliar with the ins and outs of the adoption process. The experience and expertise offered by agencies such as A Act of Love can provide invaluable in ensuring that you are able to navigate the legal labyrinth that is the adoption process. The adoption agency can also verify the scenario between you and the birthmother you met through Facebook.