Search for adoption help online (on Google, or any other search engine) and you’re likely to fall down a rabbit hole, so consider yourself warned, friend. What you see really may not be what you’ll get… so you can’t be too careful, especially when planning an adoption online. 

It doesn’t matter whether you need to know “how to give baby up for adoption” or where to “find a baby to adopt”? Perhaps you’re wondering if open adoption is better than closed adoption, or if it’s too late to choose adoption if a baby is already born, or if adoption can still happen if the father doesn’t agree? Maybe you’re wondering about putting up a child for adoption, or adopting a newborn, or locating “adoption near me” or just searching for adoption information in general? Whatever term you enter in an online search for adoption help, there’s no guarantee that the results are leading you to an ethical and licensed adoption professional.

One Missouri mother named Tranda Wecker found this out the hard way. She did a search for adoption help online, got mixed up with an unlicensed California adoption facilitator, and ended up in prison. The facilitator placed Tranda’s two girls with one couple for one fee, then convinced Tranda to help move them to a British family willing to pay double the amount. The FBI got involved, and the children were returned to the US, where they ended up in state foster care. Tranda and her estranged husband  tried unsuccessfully to get the girls returned to them, but the State ended up arranging an adoption and the girls (now in college) have reportedly chosen not to have contact with their birthmother.

How to Search for Adoption Help

These days, it’s not unusual to search for adoption help online. By some estimates, there are more than 368k searches for adoption every month, and over 501 relevant keywords for adoption. Consumers search for adoption, adoption rates, the adoption process, child adoption centers, local adoption agencies, american adoption, babies available for adoption now, adoption records, children looking for adoption (as if kids can place themselves?), about child adoption, adoption in Texas, US adoption, domestic adoptions, adoption laws, and much more.

Hold onto your reins, partner, because you’re about to enter the internet version of the Wild West. Regardless of whether you’re seeking adoption resources on Bing or Yelp or Google on anywhere else online, you’re going to find a whole corral of good actors and bad actors.  (And what you see, too often, is not what you get, because the best-funded sponsored adoption ads typically do not get placed by the most trustworthy adoption providers.)

Online, adoption ethics can be as rare as the mythical Texan chupacabra, which is not good news for prospective adoption consumers. This is why you should want to only work with a state-licensed nonprofit adoption agency (like Abrazo) and a qualified adoption attorney who is licensed in your state, so you can thoroughly check state licensing records, as is your right.

Be Safe, Not Sorry

When someone just starting out searches for information, they don’t know what they don’t know, of course. So it’s a common mistake to think that whatever listing pops up first is best– but that’s not true, and here’s why:

Google normally displays first “sponsored ads” which are shown in order of how big the ad budget is and how much the advertiser will bid for a keyword like “adoption.” This means that those willing to pay the most appear most often. (Red flag, y’all!) Because the most ethical adoption providers do NOT charge the biggest fees, so here’s the rub: the adoption advertisers with the most money are likely using adoption as a for-profit venture. (Or in other words: “making money off of babies.” Which is just wrong, wrong, wrong.)

Shyanne Klupp was just 20 years old when she searched Google for information on adoption, and got swiftly connected with a California adoption network that (unknown to her) had a very sketchy record. She wanted to back out of the adoption plan (as was her right) but says she got threatened with legal action and forever lost her baby boy, as a result.

The best way to find adoption help you can trust is to get personal referrals from folks you know, and skip the internet altogether. (Even obstetricians may fall victim to marketing by adoption advertisers, attorneys or agencies that are not licensed to do adoptions in state, after all.) But if you are going to use the internet to explore adoption, be sure to avoid any adoption advertiser. adoption consultant, adoption coach, or adoption facilitator– and be forewarned, because many have ads and websites that misrepresent their lack of licensure by claiming to refer to or use licensed agencies or attorneys– and Google doesn’t monitor advertisers for such deception

Selling Adoption on the Internet

Texas adoption law prevents anyone from buying or selling a child, and limits anyone from paying living expenses on behalf of a prospective birthparent (except for a licensed adoption agency.) It’s against Texas law for agencies to require parents to repay maternity support if they decide not to place their baby for adoption. In Texas, it’s also illegal for anyone other than a licensed adoption agency to advertise for adoption or match prospective adopters with birthparents or babies.

Yet the biggest adoption advertiser on Google, who usually comes up first in Texas internet listings, is a notorious and unlicensed broker who lives out of state. She claims to “list adoption profiles for free” — that is, unless they’re chosen parents, at which time she allegedly collects a $20k+ fee for her “adoption advertising service.” (The legal fees, agency fees and case expenses required to actually make an adoption happen are not included in the price she quotes, of course.) This putrid scheme clearly seems to violate the intent of Texas law, but as of yet, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton has done nothing to stop it, despite numerous complaints.

This is why the ADOPT Act has been introduced in in Congress. If passed, it will help protect those who search for adoption help online, and stop adoption outlaws. As you might guess, the big bad baby brokers don’t want this law to pass, though. So it’s up to anyone who truly cares about children, birthparents and adoptees to contact their lawmakers and urge them to vote “yes” on the ADOPT act. (This can’t happen soon enough.)

If You Search for Adoption Help is Out There

Adoption can be life-changing, but it has to happen the right way and for the right reasons. The best adoptions are those done to meet the needs of children, not grown-ups (even though it’s always the parents/adults who launch these plans.) A search for adoption help online can lead to the right answers, but please don’t expect those answers to be easy ones. Why? Because anyone who tries to make adoption sound easy does not have any child’s best interests in mind, and is likely selling the same sort of adoption “service” that will leave an adoptee also having to search for adoption help later in life.



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