Adoption can be a promising time, full of hope about a future addition to a family. However, for many families who wish to adopt, especially those who chose to take the private adoption route, simply finding the child who will hopefully join their family may be more difficult than expected. For this reason, many prospective adoptive families are turning to the internet for help.
According to Denise Bierly, President of the American Academy of Adoption Attorneys,
“The Internet has changed everything about adoption. We will never go back to what it used to be.”
What Bierly means by her statement is that over the past years, the number of prospective adoptive parents who turn to the internet to help them in their search for a child to adopt has seen a substantial increase. Although it is unknown exactly how many of the 677,000 children placed for adoption through private domestic adoptions are places as a result of online resources such as social networking or online adoption resources, a small study conducted in 2012 by Families for Private Adoption suggests that 40% of private adoptions were successfully matched online.
The increase in the number of families turning to the web for adoption resources is likely the result of the increased pervasiveness of social networking as well as the increased competition among hopeful parents due to the growing number of families seeking to adopt and the ever increasing limitations being imposed on international adoptions.
For prospective parents who are investigating the idea of adoption, and for those prospective parents who are currently searching for the special child to join their family, there are several online resources available such as: ParentProfiles.com, Adoptomism.com, Adoptimist.com, and It’s My Time Now Georgia. Additionally, many private adoption agencies and adoption consultants are advising clients to take advantage of Facebook, Twitter and Craigslist to advertise their search. One word of caution regarding employing online resources in an adoption campaign: Beware of online scams. Never send money directly when solicited, and never agree to participate in prohibited activity.
Adoption is a very complex process that varies from state, and not every state allows for the advertisement of adoption campaigns. Specifically, in Georgia the use of social media to advertise an adoption campaign may be unlawful under certain circumstances. O.C.G.A. § 19-8-24. According to Georgia law:
“(a) It shall be unlawful for any person, organization, corporation, hospital, or association of any kind whatsoever which has not been established as a child-placing agency by the department to:
(1) Advertise, whether in a periodical, by television, by radio, or by any other public medium or by any private means, including letters, circulars, handbills, and oral statements, that the person, organization, corporation, hospital, or association will adopt children or will arrange for or cause children to be adopted or placed for adoption; or
(2) Directly or indirectly hold out inducements to parents to part with their children.
As used in this subsection, “inducements” shall include any financial assistance, either direct or indirect, from whatever source, except payment or reimbursement of the medical expenses directly related to the mother’s pregnancy and hospitalization for the birth of the child and medical care for the child.
(b) It shall be unlawful for any person to sell, offer to sell, or conspire with another to sell or offer to sell a child for money or anything of value, except as otherwise provided in this chapter.
(c) Any person who violates subsection (a) or (b) of this Code section shall be guilty of a felony and, upon conviction thereof, shall be punished by a fine not to exceed $10,000.00 or imprisonment for not more than ten years, or both, in the discretion of the court.
(d)(1) Paragraph (1) of subsection (a) of this Code section shall not apply to communication by private means, including only written letters or oral statements, by an individual seeking to:
(A) Adopt a child or children; or
(B) Place that individual’s child or children for adoption, whether the communication occurs before or after the birth of such child or children.
(2) Paragraph (1) of subsection (a) of this Code section shall not apply to any communication described in paragraph (1) of this subsection which contains any attorney’s name, address, telephone number, or any combination of such information and which requests any attorney named in such communication to be contacted to facilitate the carrying out of the purpose, as described in subparagraph (A) or (B) of paragraph (1) of this subsection, of the individual making such personal communication.”
Thus, it is imperative to engage the services of a caring Georgia adoption attorney to aid you in your journey to add a new member to your family to ensure all necessary law and regulation are complied with.