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Birth Parents: Choosing an Adoptive Family through an Online Ad or Facilitator

Woman looking at computerIn today’s technology driven world, we rely on the Internet for much of our daily lives. We communicate at work via email, we connect with our friends and family on social media, we watch our favorite shows using applications such as Netflix and Hulu, and we rely on GPS to get us where we need to go. But did you know that some expectant mothers are using the Internet for a much more shocking reason?

“Today, many expectant parents considering adoption connect with prospective adoptive parents through out-of-state entities—or facilitators— that they find online,” write Karen S. Law, Esq. and Teresa M. McDonough, ACSW.

What are the Risks?

“In view of the risks involved, one would think that the use of facilitators would be declining, but that is not the case,” write  Law and McDonough. In fact, quite the opposite is true. The use of facilitators and online advertisements are actually on the rise. So, what are the biggest risks choosing an adoptive family through an online ad or facilitator?

Unlicensed

“Too often, these entities are unlicensed and unregulated intermediaries; they act as matchmakers only, not full-service agencies,” write Law and McDonough. “When the child is born, there is often a scramble to locate an adoption attorney or licensed adoption agency representative who can then meet with the expectant parent(s) for the first time and begin the counseling and legal processes.”

As a result of the confusion and scrambling, sometime the placement does not go through, leaving both biological and adoptive parents heartbroken with no follow-up support. This is why the National Council For Adoption recommends expectant parents and prospective parents only work with licensed agencies.

“I would guess the rate of success in Texas is less than 10 percent for facilitators,” says Michael R. Lackmeyer, an adoption attorney in Texas. “I personally would never recommend them to a client.”

Lack of Counseling Resources

One of the major benefits to working with a licensed and experienced local adoption agency is pre- and post-placement counseling.

“Adoption is not just scary, counseling is provided because birth mothers can feel overwhelmed with the choices and decisions associated with adoption,” says Dean Kirschner, Ph.D., LCSW-C. “Counseling may help a birth mother/birth father understand the various options associated with choices of parenting or creating an adoption plan.”

An unplanned pregnancy is a time that’s filled with emotions and uncertainty. Expectant mothers need someone who can help guide them through the entire adoption process, from weighing the options to creating an adoption plan to grief counseling.

“Only support and the respectful acknowledgment of their choices and their emotions can help birth parents grieve in a healthy manner and, with time, allow for their healing and reconciliation of the adoption as a part of their life story,” explain Chuck Johnson, president and CEO of the National Council For Adoption, and Kris Faasse, LMSW, ACSW, Director of Adoption Services for Bethany Christian Services in their article “Birthparent Counseling in Policy and Practice.”

Unfortunately, when birth parents decide to operate outside of a licensed agency, they do not have access to these vital resources.

“The expectant parents receive no face-to-face counseling, and may not be apprised of the laws in their state or the state where the prospective adoptive parents reside,” write Law and McDonough. Furthermore, “the lack of post-adoption support services can undermine the likelihood of adoptive family success as well as the birth parent’s long-term wellbeing.”

Finding a Licensed Local Adoption Agency in Maryland

Adoption Makes Family was founded to meet the needs of birth parents and adoptive parents in a manner that is sensitive, compassionate, and personal. We are a non-profit (501-C3) licensed adoption agency based in Maryland. Our adoption counselors are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for your convenience. If you would like our advice or just need to talk, please give us a call at any time.

24-Hour Hotline 410-683-2100

If you have any questions, you can contact us by phone at 410-683-2100, by e-mail at dr.kirschner@adoptionmakesfamily.org or use our online contact form.

Sources

  1. Law, Karen S., and Teresa M. McDonough. “The Role of Facilitators in Adoption.” Adoption Advocate70 (April 2014). http://www.adoptioncouncil.org/images/stories/ncfa_adoption_advocate_no70.pdf.
  2. “Take Control & Spread the Word.” My Adoption Advisor. Accessed April 26, 2018. http://www.myadoptionadvisor.com/th_gallery/adoption-advertising-take-control-and-spread-the-word/.
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