Over the past decade, more and more prospective adoptive parents have taken to Craigslist to place listings in search of a prospective birthmom. For many people, Craigslists is associated with apartment listings, sofas for sale, and some questionable adult sections for people looking to hook-up. At first glance, finding an adoption match on Craigslist may seem like a tacky way to go about growing your family. However, as an adoptive parent, I’m not bothered by this trend. In fact, for several reasons, I think it could be a good thing:
Craiglist is the new public marketplace. For years, people have advertised about adoption in the newspaper. And while that may have seemed more legitimate, the truth is that the internet is undoubtedly taking the place of print publications, especially for young people. A teenager with an unplanned pregnancy is much more likely to look online for a solution than she is to scour the personal ads in a local circular. Craigslist is easy, and it’s accessible to anyone with an internet connection.
Craigslist gives more personal control to prospective birthmoms. Rather than going though an agency, where a prospective birthmom has a social worker giving her counsel (and maybe even picking which families to present based on wait-time or other aspects that benefit the agency), with Craigslist a prospective birthmom can look at all prospective parents herself and make her own decisions. It also gives prospective birthmoms a wider pool to choose from, since often agencies only present families that are within that particular agency.
Craiglist eliminate the “baby broker” phenomenon. The adoption industry is complex, and the inflated cost of domestic adoption is indication that there are some people making a steep profit off of the supply-and-demand of adoptable children. Many agencies charge a fee for making a match . . . other agencies rely on “facilitators” who then charge a separate fee for their matchmaking services. Craigslist removes the middle-man in the selection process.
Craiglist is more affordable for prospective adoptive parents. Of course, to complete an adoption, all parties are still required to go through the homestudy process and secure an attorney, but Craigslist makes the process more affordable for hopeful parents by by-passing the need for an agency in making a match. Prospective parents can place an ad for free, unlike many of the online adoption listing sites that require a fee.
Of course, there are some inherent risks in using Craigslist for adoption matching . . . the potential for being scammed increases exponentially when there is not an agency involved. Prospective adoptive parents will need to be vigilant in confirming that any potential match is indeed pregnant and not asking for money from numerous couples. Getting an attorney involved from the beginning is always wise. And with any adoption, prospective parents will need patience and boundaries, since prospective birthmoms can (and often do) change their mind after giving birth. This is a risk inherent with pre-birth matching . . . and while it is extremely painful for prospective parents to “lose a placement”, it is vital that this right be afforded to any pregnant woman, and that prospective parents be respectful of this possibility until the adoption is final.
What do you think about online adoption ads? If you wanted to adopt a child, would you place an ad on Craigslist?