Untangling the Web: The Internet's Transformative Impact on Adoption.
Policy and Practice Perspective.
Howard, Jeanne A.
Donaldson Adoption Institute.
Permission to Copy
Published: December 2012
This first-ever examination of the Internet's impact on adoption concludes that social media and other elements of this modern technology are having "transformative" effects -- positive and negative -- on adoption policy, practice and millions of people's lives, while raising serious legal, ethical and procedural concerns that have yet to be addressed. Key findings include: (1) There is a growing "commodification" of adoption on the web, replete with dubious practices, and a shift away from the perspective that its primary purpose is to find families for children; (2) Finding birth relatives is becoming increasingly easy and commonplace, with significant institutional and personal implications, including the likely end of the era of "closed" adoption; (3) A growing number of young adoptees are forming relationships with birth relatives, sometimes without their adoptive parents' knowledge and usually without guidance or preparation; and (4) A rising number of websites offer useful, positive resources and expedite the adoption of children and youth who need families, notably including those with special needs. (Author abstract)
internet; social media; adoption; search for birth parents; adopted children; post adoption contact; adoptive parents