We live in a world where we are constantly inundated by social media. Whether you love it or hate it, it’s an unavoidable aspect of modern life.
It’s not surprising, therefore, that the rise of social media and the internet has drastically changed how prospective birth mothers and hopeful adoptive families connect. But, what exactly happens when a prospective birth mother finds a family on the internet? Is this process a safe one for all involved?
At American Adoptions, we have no restrictions on whether adoptive families can advertise for an adoption opportunity on their own social media pages. In fact, some families find this to be a great way to expand their reach and potential for adoption opportunities. However, before you take this step, there are a few important things you need to know.
Can We Use Social Media to Find a Prospective Birth Mother?
Social media and the internet can be a great way to find an adoption opportunity — as long as you do it right.
Before you start advertising your family online, make sure you understand your state’s laws on doing so. Some states will only allow licensed adoption agencies to advertise a family’s willingness to adopt. When it doubt, talk with your adoption specialist about this possibility for your family.
For those who choose to advertise their family on social media, this process can offer a wider network for opportunities and a more unique way to share your family with prospective birth mothers. You can offer a more detailed peek into your lifestyle that your adoption profile may not include, which can help birth mothers identify if your family is the best match for them.
What Should We Know About Finding an Adoption Opportunity this Way?
Before you begin advertising your wish to adopt on social media, we encourage you to speak in depth with your adoption counselor about the pros and cons of this process. There are a few things to be aware of before advertising your family this way.
First and foremost, advertising your family on social media on your own opens up the potential for being contacted by women who are not really interested in adoption. You are more likely to experience adoption fraud when finding a prospective birth mother online. Ensuring that any prospective birth mother who contacts you is willing to work with your agency is a good way to weed out potential scammers.
You’ll also want to be careful about the kind of language you use when trying to attract a prospective birth mother on social media. Don’t refer to expectant parents as “birth mothers,” as many women considering adoption don’t think of themselves that way. Avoid any discussion of expenses being paid, as that can be interpreted as advertising for the placement of a child for money.
As with anything else you post on social media, know that what you post as part of your birth mother search will be public. Always protect your identifying information, and don’t reveal anything you are not comfortable with the whole word seeing. If you are open to finding a prospective birth mother on social media, know that she may expect that you will continue social media contact after she places a baby with you. The birth mother’s family may also be able to find you on social media if you choose this kind of path.
When you advertise for a prospective birth mother on social media, be prepared to walk her through what you require: that she work with your adoption agency, undergo certain screenings and obtain adoption counseling before moving forward. Be ready to explain that this will all be for her own benefit.
What Do We Do if We’re Contacted by a Birth Mother Through Social Media?
It can be extremely surprising when you open up your social media accounts one day to find a message from a stranger. When that stranger says she would like to place her baby with your family, you’ll feel a rush of emotions and have one big question: What next?
As mentioned above, there is always the risk of adoption fraud when you are contacted by a prospective birth mother online. However, there is also the real chance that this could be the adoption opportunity you have been waiting for. Keep your conversation light and general; provide support and friendly conversation for a prospective birth mother before getting too serious.
If an expectant mother reaches out to you on social media, remember that she is in a vulnerable state. Don’t bombard her with questions about her intentions, her health history and her post-adoption requirements; those will be handled by your adoption specialist. Instead, tell her you are honored she is interested in your family and mention that you are working with an adoption agency. Explain the benefits for her of working with American Adoptions, and offer up contact information for our agency so she can reach out and get started.
If she seems wary of working with an adoption agency, or if she starts asking detailed questions about your family information, financial help, and more, be careful. For your safety, these issues should always be handled by your adoption specialist. If she is persistent about working independently, evaluate your options. As hard as it may be to say no, this may not be the best opportunity for your family.
For more information on finding a prospective birth mother in a safe and legal way, please reach out to our adoption specialists today at 1-800-ADOPTION.