How Do We Locate a Baby To Adopt?

An adoption agency is the most common link between prospective adoptive parents and an available baby to adopt. Adoption agencies may have a "pool" of birth mothers, who are referred to the agency by various community resources or in response to the agency's advertising, just as they have a "pool" of prospective adoptive couples.

Adoption agencies have several methods for linking the parties to an adoption. Some agencies make a match based on each party's desires and attributes; other agencies present the birth mother with several different adoptive couples to consider and allow her to make the decision; still other agencies, in closed adoptions, make a match based solely on the adoptive couple's desires.

In recent years, due to birth mothers' desire to have an active and independent role in choosing adoptive parents, agency "pools" of birth parents are declining. It is now common for adoptive parents to locate a baby through their own efforts and advertising. This is "independent" adoption. Many couples employ an agency, adoption consultant or attorney to help them with an independent adoption.

The roles of these facilitators vary and may include assisting the couple in writing a "Dear Birthmother" letter; writing classified advertisements; making recommendations on newspapers in which to advertise or placing the ads for them; instructing the adoptive couple on answering calls from birth mothers or actually taking the calls; screening birthmother calls and providing follow-up, and facilitating in-person meetings. Each state has its own laws regarding adoption advertising. Most states allow newspaper advertisements with minimal requirements. However, it is necessary to obtain advice from an attorney prior to engaging in such advertising.

A very new method of locating a baby to adopt is through the Internet. There are several comprehensive adoption websites on the Internet, all of which have links to "Waiting Couples" pages. The waiting couple's pages are biographies of the couple, written by them and including personal photographs. Information on how to contact the couple (or their agency or attorney), usually a toll-free telephone number, is also included in the web page. It is similar to the "Introduction Books" prepared by adoption agencies to be viewed by birth mothers. I can personally attest to the Internet as a valuable method of locating a baby to adopt. After 10 months of advertising, over $9,000 in costs and no viable leads, my husband and I constructed a web page and subscribed to a few of the popular adoption websites. Within two months, we had made a match with a birthmother and two months later our long-awaited daughter was born! I strongly believe that the Internet is a valuable and virtually untapped method of locating a baby to adopt.