Expectations in a Wired World
Although the Internet has made the adoption process simpler, it has also created expectations. "Today women who are considering adoption are used to making more choices," explains Caldwell, whose adoption center handles 110 to 120 successful adoptions each year.
Caldwell notes that birth mothers have more options about where and how they place their babies with parents. "It used to be that the adoption attorney or an adoption agency decided [where to place a baby]." Yet more and more birth mothers consult a catalog of prospective parents, from profiles listed online, to decide where the baby will be placed. Caldwell finds that 75 percent of the birth mothers want to choose the families themselves.
While sending pictures online or creating your own webpage may not be second nature to you, many young birth mothers have grown up using the Internet and expect the information they need and the pictures of prospective parents to be available online.
Greater possibilities also exist in how the adoptions can be handled—the line between open (where birth mothers and adoptive parents have contact) and closed (where birth mothers and adoptive parents do not have contact) adoptions is no longer as defined. Birth mothers and prospective parents are more likely to live farther away from each other but open adoptions are much more possible through e-mails and instant messaging.