The 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.