Feb. 16, 2012— -- Hundreds of couples are using social networking sites, like Facebook or YouTube, to adopt a child.
Instead of posting ads in a local paper, couples are creating groups in Facebook or making YouTube videos, with the capacity to reach a much broader audience.
Facebook reported that it had 483 million daily active users in December and YouTube is reported to have hundreds of millions of users from around the world.
For couples struggling to adopt, the depth of social media is allowing them to find a child quickly and reach a global audience.
An Unconventional Approach
Struggling to start a family, newlyweds Melissa and Seth Edlavitch of Washington, D.C., were unable to conceive and then sadly lost twins during childbirth.
"I remember thinking that I would never smile again," Melissa said.
The couple, still determined to have a child, decided on a private adoption. They sent emails telling everyone they knew, trying to get the word out they were looking for a child.
After months of waiting, and no response, Seth posted their adoption flier on his Facebook site.
His flier was then reposted by friend John, who was contacted by a friend to whom he hadn't spoken in more than 20 years: "She said, 'You know I work with a couple and I know the woman doesn't have a plan for her baby, would you like to talk to her?'" Seth recounted.
Ecstatic, they met with the woman the next day at a local Starbucks.
After having asked her "All the tough questions," Seth said, the woman decided to let the couple adopt her baby. The paperwork was drawn and a month later, their son, Noah, was born.
"Then we got to hold him right away. And it was just … and so from the moment he was given to us we felt like he was ours," Melissa said.
Another couple, Molly and John Connelly, also had a successful Facebook adoption. After struggling to adopt for five years, the couple were able to adopt their son, Theo, after they started a Facebook group. They shared their story with the engineers at the Facebook headquarters last year.
"The Internet is changing adoption forever in historic ways," said Adam Pertman, author of "Adoption Nation."
Pertman cautions parents who are considering adopting by such unconventional means, "if it is part of an informed process, it's a wonderful expediting tool, if it is the only tool you have got in your box, then the risks are enormous."