The Internet and Adoption: A Prospective Parent’s Primer
Technology helps smooth the process, but some cautions apply
Improving the Adoption Process
Before the Internet came along, prospective parents would wade through stacks of material and make countless phone calls just to find out simple information on how to go about adopting a baby into their families. Today with the click of the mouse, you can learn about nearly every aspect of adopting—from looking at pictures of orphans in China to posting your own profile for birth mothers to consider. While the Internet has made adopting a child easier, some aspects of adopting—the frustration, the wait—remain the same.
“With the Internet you can learn more in an afternoon, in the comfort of your own home, than from weeks in the library,” advises Mardie Caldwell, author of Adoption: Your Step-by-Step Guide and the founder and director of the Lifetime Adoption Center, near Sacramento, California. Caldwell still recalls her despair at having to wait three weeks to attend an informational meeting when she was looking to adopt in the 1980s.
From here on, the 60,000 or so couples that adopt children each year will have a very different experience. Instead of going to several adoption offices in person to fill out forms and look through pictures of adoptive children, as prospective parents you can instead submit forms via e-mail and browse through thousands of pictures on your home computer. You are no longer limited to adopting within the region or state where you live, or even the country.
Parts of the adoption process, such as home study, where a state social worker reviews your home and circumstances, must still be done in person. However, much of the preparation work of sending forms back and forth is easier, and less expensive, when done in cyberspace.
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