What to Look for in the Best Adoption Websites
And How to Find Online Adoption Information You Can Trust
We turn to the internet for nearly everything. Questions, instructions, news, entertainment — it’s all online. We take the small questions and the big issues to Google and, generally, we can find what we’re looking for. But does this modern approach to information translate to adoption? Can a family considering adoption find everything they need on adoption websites?
This is where families start in most cases. When couples or individuals become interested in adoption, it is common for them to begin their research on how to adopt a baby online. It’s also common to feel immediately overwhelmed. A hopeful adoptive couple searching for adoption websites will find thousands of results.
The adoption sites you’ll find come from all different types of organizations, and the level of quality information on an adoption website can vary drastically from one organization to the next. The number of adoption sites and amount of information can feel like too much to take in. And if you don’t know what to look for, you could find yourself misled on important adoption information.
Here, we’ll break down the facts you need to know about online adoption information. This guide will look at:
The types of adoption websites you’ll find
What to look for in a trustworthy adoption website
How child adoption websites have impacted the adoption process
If something you read makes you think of a more specific question, you can call 1-800-ADOPTION anytime to speak with an adoption specialist (which, by the way, is the type of professional backing to look for in a trustworthy adoption site).
Types of Adoption Websites
Just like any type of news or information, the source matters. There are many different types of adoption websites, and some can be more trustworthy than others.
The various categories of adoption websites include:
Adoption Professional Websites
Adoption professionals are organizations like national adoption agencies, local adoption agencies and adoption attorneys. These professionals are trained and licensed in their field of work. American Adoptions, for example, is a national adoption agency that is fully licensed and regulated by strict ethical standards. Because of this, information provided by professionals’ adoption sites for babies, children, birth parents and adoptive families is often among the most trustworthy you can find online.
Generally, adoption professionals’ websites:
Offer adoption services and online education to adoptive parents, birth parents and pregnant women considering adoption
Can include adoption agencies, adoption law firms, attorneys or other adoption service providers
Can be helpful for completing most or all steps of the adoption process
Online Adoption Advertisers or Adoption Matching Websites
Some hopeful parents’ first instinct is to look for places to adopt a baby online. While you can’t exactly complete the entire adoption process over the internet, there are organizations that claim to help adoptive families find a child to adopt online. These organizations often run adoption ads online, and you may stumble across one in your searching.
You are likely to find that adoption advertisers and adoption matching sites:
Facilitate matches between prospective adoptive families and birth parents
May help adoptive parents match with a birth mother, but are usually unable offer any of the other necessary services required to complete an adoption
Informational Adoption Websites
There are many websites that provide trustworthy information on adoption without actually providing adoption services. Sites like Considering Adoption provide accurate internet adoption information for anyone searching about adoption online. Others, like Adoptive Families Magazine and Adoption for My Baby, also provide great resources for adoptive families and prospective birth mothers considering adoption.
These child adoption sites often:
Offer adoption information to both adoptive families and (prospective) birth parents
Include government websites, non-profit websites, and ad-based websites
Are great for free adoption information, if it is a reputable website
Beyond specific adoption websites for babies and children, there are many well-known news organizations that frequently report on adoption-related issues. Sites like the Huffington Post, The Guardian and The New York Times have dedicated sections of their websites to covering adoption news, and local news sources across the country will often highlight adoption stories and events in their communities.
These types of sites often:
Report adoption news from local and national sources
Inform about changing laws or regulations that could impact adoptive families or birth parents
Adoption Search Sites and Reunion Registries
Finally, there is another common type of adoption website for adoptees and birth parents from the era of closed adoption: search and reunion sites. Through reunion registries and search sites, adult adoptees and birth parents can choose to list their names in case biological family members are looking for them. These websites can be privately owned or run by the state, and may cost money or be free adoption search sites. If you are a birth parent or adoptee of a closed adoption, you can learn more about your options for paid and free adoption search websites here.
There may be other types of websites and adoption forums online, like a Reddit stream or Twitter account, where information is shared, too. None of these categories is inherently less trustworthy than the others, but there are some signs that an adoption website is giving information that you should take with a grain of salt.
What to Look for in a Trustworthy Adoption Website
There are a myriad of standards you can use to judge the validity of a child adoption website. These three stand out as reliable litmus tests for the trustworthiness of an adoption site:
Professionalism: An official organization is held to higher standards than a personal blog. That’s not to say personal adoption websites and blogs can’t be a great source of online adoption information. However, a website run and supported by professionals is backed by experience and education. Additionally, if you are reading from an adoption professional, you should make sure they are fully licensed. This is important to look for, especially with a topic as complex as adoption.
Citing Sources: Does the adoption website quote sources or link out to supporting article when stating facts? A good adoption site will back up what it has to say.
Balanced Perspective: If you are an adoptive parent look for online adoption information and the adoption website you’re reading doesn’t mention anything about the challenges of adoption, you may want to look elsewhere. Of course, adoption is beautiful. It’s an amazing experience for many families, but it can also be difficult. If a site refuses to mention this, it is likely more interested in winning you over than telling you the truth.
Finally, one last tried-and-true method of finding trustworthy online adoption information: look at more than one source for your research. If you can only find a piece of information presented on one adoption website, that’s reason for caution. Truth is truth, and you can verify facts by looking at multiple adoption sites for children.
A Word About Anti-Adoption Websites
Just like there are signs of a trustworthy adoption website, there are also signs of an untrustworthy site. If a website never cites sources, or if an adoption organization claims to be able to accomplish things that seem too good to be true, then you may be looking at an untrustworthy website. There are also anti-adoption sites that may come up in search results when you are looking for adoption information. While it is unfortunate, there are some organizations and writers who are against adoption. They create negative information that is not always truthful in order to argue that adoption is something for families to avoid. Watch out for these anti-adoption sites when searching for adoption information.
The Impact of Adoption Websites for Babies and Children
The impact the internet has had on adoption is massive, as is the impact of the internet on every area of life. As a report from the Donaldson Adoption Institute says, “It is difficult to describe the extent to which the internet is changing everyday realities of adoption… the effects of this very new technology on a very old social institution indicates that they are systemic, profound, complex and permanent.”
Are these effects positive or negative? In many cases, they are positive. Just look, for example, at the adoptive family profiles that American Adoptions is able to present to prospective birth mothers. Thanks to the ability to share adoptive family profile videos, prospective birth mothers have the ability to get a personal glimpse into the life of the adoptive parents that would be impossible without adoption websites. The internet also creates the possibility to share and gather information more efficiently, and it creates communications channels in open adoptions that were never possible before.
All of these things can be very positive. But there are potential drawbacks to the way technology has impacted adoption, as well. As was stated earlier, not all organizations creating adoption websites are trustworthy. This led the Institute to report that, “Unregulated websites compete with traditional practitioners, sometimes by making claims and utilizing practices that raise serious ethical and legal concerns.”
While the free flow of online adoption information and increased ability to communicate can be positive, adoption websites and online adoption have to be approached with caution. Using the factors presented in this guide as a standard for accuracy is a good start.
The best thing you can do in any situation is to verify what you’ve found on adoption websites with an adoption professional. You can call 1-800-ADOPTION at any time to speak with an adoption specialist with American Adoptions. Our specialists can answer any questions you have about the adoption process. You can also request more free information as you continue researching adoption.
Information available through these links is the sole property of the companies and organizations listed therein. America Adoptions, Inc. provides this information as a courtesy and is in no way responsible for its content or accuracy.