Some experts growing concerned over the ethical issues raised by online adoption

In previous posts, we’ve discussed how the internet has changed the face of divorce. Now it appears as if it’s changing the face of yet another important family law issue: adoption.

Specifically, many pregnant women who are seeking adoptive parents for their children are now looking on the internet instead of going to traditional adoption agencies. In fact, because so many pregnant women are now choosing to use the internet to find adoptive parents, the waiting times to adopt via traditional agencies can be two years, three years or longer.

While this trend has certain advantages for the people involved, experts caution that it also raises some troubling issues. For instance, prospective parents may feel pressured to present an elaborate internet campaign in order to compete with other prospective parents even when they would rather not do so.

Furthermore, experts point out that online adoption facilitators cannot provide the skilled face-to-face counseling of traditional adoption agencies, and that some of these facilitators engage in ethically questionable behavior, such as offering financial incentives for pregnant women to sign up. In fact, they may be unable to put together adoptions that will stand up to legal scrutiny.

According to experts, the key to minimizing problems when working with an online adoption facilitator is to make sure that the facilitator is licensed. Many are not. Anyone, licensed or not, experienced or not, and ethical or not, can open up an online adoption site and then rise to the top of the search engine listings simply by advertising extensively. Using a licensed adoption agency, they argue, can help minimize potential problems.

“We do have a number of adoptive parents who have told us of horror stories where they’ve spent thousands of dollars connecting with people on the internet that have not yielded a successful adoption,” said the executive director of a traditional adoption agency in Maryland.

Stay tuned for more from our Ft. Worth family law blog …

To learn more about adoption rights, child custody, visitation, or grandparents’ rights, contact an experienced and skilled legal professional.

This post is for informational purposes only and is not to be construed as legal advice.


National Public Radio, “Finding a child online: How the web is transforming adoption,” Jennifer Ludden, Dec. 13, 2012