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Top Five Reasons to be Wary of the Internet During an Adoption

17
Sep

adoption bloggingThe internet and social media sites have transformed the international adoption landscape. Previously, we discussed some of the benefits that adoptive parents have gained from the internet. Today we will discuss the top five reasons adoptive parents need to be cautious when going online during an international adoption.

 

    1. It is difficult to judge the accuracy of information online – information on international adoption is readily available on the internet. Type in international adoption on Google and you get 55.8 million results. Anyone with basic skills and a few dollars can develop and maintain a website. But, how do you know the information on that website is accurate and not just propaganda put forth by someone with ulterior motives or by someone who has an axe to grind? Adoptive parents must sift through results with care to discern the legitimacy and accuracy of the information being provided.

 

    1. Unscrupulous adoption operators can easily identify vulnerable targets online – the Internet makes fraud that much easier to commit. A scam artist from halfway across the world can dupe a couple frantic for a baby into handing over large amounts of money and they will have limited remedies available to them to get their money back.

 

    1. Online contact with birth family members or caregivers can occur without adequate counseling or preparation – Adopted child contacting birth siblings or family members or former caregivers without proper support can provide challenges to their parents or therapists.

 

    1. Sharing too much information online can endanger your adoption or adoptions from your country – each sending country in international adoption has their own particular set of rules and concerns about the families receiving their chldren. Internet activities can provide fuel to these sending countries for making the international adoption process easier or perhaps more difficult if the sending countires don’t like what they see.

 

    1. Increased adoption-related marketing activities online can mask the primary purpose of adoption – A growing “commodification” of adoption and a shift away from the perspective that its primary purpose is to find families for children is a grave risk of some internet activities. Unregulated websites compete with traditional practitioners, sometimes by making claims and utilizing practices that raise serious ethical and legal concerns.

 

 

The greater availability of reliable adoption information can be a tremendous benefit to a couple suffering from infertility who are researching their options for starting a family. But, it can also provide unwitting and vulnerable targets to a fraudulent, unscrupulous adoption practitioner. It’s clear that the internet has had both negative and positive impacts on adoption.

 

 

The Evan B. Donaldson report “Untangling the Internet” correctly points out that current internet adoption practices are the result of ad hoc responses to technological capabilities, not carefully researched policy decisions. The Adoption Institute has made a long term committment to study the impact of online activity on adoption. And they need your help to do it. The Adoption Institute is seeking information from adopted persons, adoptive parents, birth/first parents, and adoption professionals about their use of this life-altering technology. To participate, please click here.

 

 

MLJ Adoptions carefully monitors online activities to ensure that the wellbeing of our adoptive families and the children they are adopting are not adversely affected by internet activities. It is critical that those concerned about ethical adoption practices determine how to use the Internet to assure the rights and well-being of all parties, while improving adoption overall. We look forward to learning from the research results from the Evan B. Donaldson Institute.Photo Credit: Anna Hirsch

 

For more information about MLJ Adoptions’ international adoption programs, please click here.

 

 

Sheri Molnar is the Director of Operations and Finance at MLJ Adoptions. Visiting children living in institutions in Honduras and Congo has provided her with a tremendous motivation to come into work each day and work tirelessly on behalf of children in need of loving, permanent homes.