Networking in adoption…

11 Apr


I’m going to attempt this post to get people to dig deep and think seriously about this topic, and then consider speaking to your adoption service providers about it whether they are lawyers, agencies, facilitator, or whoever else I missed.  Gauge their reaction and ask yourself whether they are truly in it to help, or something else.

And quite frankly, it isn’t the prospective adoptive parents that are at fault here… 
It’s the system, the industry, that appears to have found a cheaper way to process adoptions, at the same, or higher price, than when they did it all.  It comes at the expense of people who want to adopt, and are being told to do that, or wait, and wait, and wait.  Some have chosen to create a discrete blog and tell friends, family, clergy, etc., a place to send those interested in knowing more about you.  In between are folks on Facebook that are similar to the discrete blogs, but perhaps easier to gain traffic, to some that apparently pay Facebook for key word hits, (I don’t know enough about that to be more specific).  Some choose to be listed on adoption profile sites, and I don’t know if expectant mothers must use the prospective adoptive parents agency they picked, I suspect that is the case, but could be wrong.  People need to remember that there is a line that once crossed, can’t be taken back.  Where that line is, is something that needs deep thought and consideration.  Doing adoption right matters long after the papers are signed, think of the long-term, not the short-term.

It can also come at the expense of the expectant mother and father…
Instead of the expectant parents looking into adoption as an option, and finding an agency that they feel comfortable with, an agency that is local and treats them first as human beings.  An agency that will provide them all the services they want, where they can consider all options, and one they will need after, if adoption is the choice they make.  Versus a national agency that may not even have a local office in their state, and profiles of parents that may live across the country and how can true openness hope to exist, when it would include that type of travel.

Think about how backwards it is for expectant parents to use the agency that the adoptive parents have hired (before they started networking), instead of expectant parents finding the perfect agency with staff that they are comfortable with, to help them through likely the most difficult decision, and journey of their life, instead, they are stuck with whatever choice the adopting parents have made?

It’s time to ask whether networking to find expectant parents is actually the right method based your moral compass and ethics, and I’m speaking here solely of random, stranger finds stranger on the internet type situations.  Perhaps the easiest way to answer whether it’s the right way to go is to ask the following questions.  Would you want your daughter to find the future parents for her child, your grandchild, on the internet?  Would you be comfortable with your daughter using the company that they (random internet strangers) hired to get them a baby?  Put that way, wouldn’t it seem like you would be approving of your child, and future grandchild, being put in a potentially risky situation that may not have their best interests at heart?  Wouldn’t it be better if your child found the right service provider for her, close to home?

If you can’t see the difference in the above analogy, what if it was a random stranger who needed a kidney, and your kind-hearted sister said they could have one of hers.  Would you want her to consult with her doctor who is looking out for her best interests, or would you be fine with her using the doctor of the person who wants her kidney?

And also at the expense of the adopting parents peace of mind…
Prospective adoptive parents, your choices in how you choose to go about adopting need to be considered from all standpoints, now, and in the future.  How much guilt would you feel if down the road, you found out your child’s first mother felt pushed to go along with the plan even though she wanted it to slow down.  Instead, solely because she liked and chose you, and didn’t want to disappoint you, she continued on, rather than finding the right agency who would be looking after her, and her future child’s best interests first?  Could you live with that type of guilt?

Adoption is not meant to be something done lightly, or to be rushed into without deep thought… 
It seems like it is being made into something that takes little consideration by some of these new processes that are playing out in real life.  A mockery of what adoption is supposed to be, a serious process with the intent to find the right family for a child who needs one.

Adoption should never be made into shopping for a baby…
Your child’s adoption story should not start with we found you because we used Twitter, Craigslist, Facebook, a Billboard advertisement we took out…

Tell your friends and family.  Tell your minister, your doctor, co-workers – that’s fine…

Consider whether you will tell your adoption provider that you won’t be the person who does their job for them.  Rather, that you will tell them you are the client who has paid them to do their job – finding the right home for a baby that needs a home, and hopefully you will be that home, for one.

What changed to make some adoption service providers think this should be the starting paragraph in your child’s adoption story…or any child’s adoption story for that matter.

Bravo to those adoption service providers that adhere to doing adoption the right way…by being a full service agency that has all options on the table, and does not hold adoption as always the superior option.

Please note that any comments that are inflammatory will be deleted… 



Posted by on April 11, 2014 in Adoption, adoptive parents, biological child, Ethics


Tags: , , , , , , ,

10 responses to “Networking in adoption…

  1. Deb

    April 11, 2014 at 5:03 pm

    Birthmother = humanbeing with a heart and feelings
    Birthfather = humanbeing with a heart and feelings
    Child = humanbeing with a heart and feelings
    Adoptive parents =humanbeings with hearts and feelings
    Therefore all equal.
    If we kept this basic premise in mind we would all be much better off.


  2. Lori Lavender Luz

    April 11, 2014 at 7:27 pm

    What a helpful post for hopeful adopting parents. I remember being there and the pull to be focused on the match, leaving the long-term implications of it hazy and to-be-worked-out-somehow later. It’s kind of like a bride who puts it all into the wedding without enough thought for the marriage.

    “Doing adoption right matters long after the papers are signed, think of the long-term, not the short-term.” Yes, yes.

    And I like what Deb says.


  3. TAO

    April 11, 2014 at 10:54 pm

    Karen, I’ve sat on your comments all day today. I want to approve them because I don’t like shutting out voices and they honestly aren’t bad comments, but they will be heard as bad by those this post is targeted too. I don’t do this lightly, and I hope you will comment again, but if I approved them, any chance of this message being heard is lessened. I do think you should share the pain that comes with losing your child, pain that does not ever go away. Make it real to the adopting parents, despite how hard it is, make it able to be heard by them. Make them understand adoption must only happen if a child truly needs adoption.

    All types come to adoption, those who strive to educate themselves and make sure the child truly needs adoption, to those who just don’t care and won’t hear any of our words, to those that really have no clue what practices can be slippery slopes, but do want to do it right. The latter is who I hope to reach with this post – because there will always be a need for some adoptions, and how networking is practiced today just seems wrong. To me it’s backward to what true child welfare should always be, help to look at all options to see if family preservation can work first and foremost, if not, then adoption is to me, the next best solution. Networking to me – seems to be the way to delete true child welfare, supportive services for the expectant mother, and if adoption is the solution, services for her after where she lives. I think her best chance to get true child welfare services is in a small local agency who does not just see her as a “birthmother”, rather a human needing a hand up to see if she make it work.

    I may be naïve in what I hope to accomplish, but if just one hears my words in this post, and changes how they view the adoption process, then I have made a small difference. Again, I am truly sorry, please forgive me, I hate doing this, but I am doing this for mothers…


    • Karen Wilson-Buterbaugh

      April 11, 2014 at 11:30 pm

      That’s sad. If all progressives from the past had been censored, we would have gained little progress in our society. People’s minds need to be opened and people need to be educated. I don’t cow tow to people who adopt. And it is true that the demand causes the problem. Adoption is a market. A business. Regarding improving adoption… that can’t be done unless it is to replace it with humane alternatives, which I’m sure you’ve been privy to. Natural family preservation would mean no infant adoptions. There are truly very, very few orphans who need adopting by strangers. When and if they do, there are much better ways to provide care for that child. If you won’t allow me a voice, then please remove me from your mailing list.


      • TAO

        April 12, 2014 at 12:06 am

        Karen, I explained why I felt those comments didn’t not fit on this post. I will try to figure out how to remove you per your request. As to other options for child care – I don’t have a problem with being adopted, I have a problem with the states sealing my original birth certificate, so just like everything else in life, we all have the capability to have opinions that often differ from others. I’m not one to fight with others – I don’t have the strength anymore..


      • TAO

        April 12, 2014 at 3:46 pm

        Karen, you must unfollow a blog to stop receiving emails from the blog.


  4. Raven

    April 12, 2014 at 6:33 am

    Very nice blog entry as usual, Tao. 🙂


  5. dmdezigns

    April 14, 2014 at 11:32 am

    I struggle with the idea of PAPs networking. I felt at the time that why should I be doing the job I was paying an agency for? I mean, they state that the high fees are so they can market, if I’m paying for it, why should I do it. I also felt it opened me up to more risk of fraud. Most expectant moms thinking about adoption aren’t committing fraud, but there are individuals out there who are and they target the easiest victims they can find – in this case, PAPs advertising on the internet.

    My other worries and part of why we didn’t network – how do we make sure that emom gets all the proper counseling she needs (so many times I see people talking about just using an attorney with a mom they’ve found and I suspect there’s no real counseling for the mom), how do I interact with her without an intermediary and not be coercive ( I wouldn’t want to be, but if I’m doing all the interaction, dealing with her needs, how can she even begin to tell me she’s having second thoughts?)

    I think this idea of networking really needs to stop. I’ve heard too many people state that they think it’s okay to tell a woman in an unexpected pregnancy that they’re willing to adopt if she decides she doesn’t want to parent. That’s horrible to me. It’s another form of that subtle coercion that so many don’t see – it plants the seed that she’s not worthy of being a mom otherwise, why would you have mentioned she wouldn’t. We don’t say that to other pregnant women, we assume they want to parent. When you are networking for yourself it’s too easy to cross that line. It’s hard in that situation to even see where the line is.

    Adoption has changed so much and not necessarily for the better. The paying of expenses for the emom is out of control, and while the in your face coercion isn’t as prevalent, the subtle coercion is running rampant and going completely unacknowledged. I wish I knew what the answer is, but networking to find an expectant mom on your own doesn’t help.


  6. Robyn C

    April 16, 2014 at 5:23 am

    I have mixed feelings about networking, and my own blog post in draft form that I will one day write. I do want to say, though, that about 30% of married couples in the US meet online. I doubt that the fact that they meet their children’s birthmothers (and birthfathers) on the Internet is going to be a big deal. A good friend of mine met her husband online. They’ve been married for 14 years. Relationships that start on the Internet are not inherently less valid than those that are started face-to-face.
    Local agencies are not necessarily better, more ethical, or more supportive of expectant parents than national ones, either.
    I see what you’re saying about finding the agency that will be most ethical and most supportive of the expectant parents. Ironically, smaller agencies are anecdotally the ones that do that best, and those are the very agencies that don’t have the big advertising budgets, so advise networking.



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