COLUMBUS, Ohio– In the past, finding a baby to adopt was often expensive, stressful and time-consuming.
But Ohio attorney Tommy Taneff said that has all changed with this “new age of social media” websites.
Sites like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube are no longer just for making new friends, and finding old buddies, but they can actually help would-be parents locate their child.
Facebook adoptions and surrogacies have become the bulk of his business at his office in Columbus.
“If you’re going to sit back and wait for somebody else to find a baby for you, you’re going to wait forever,” said Taneff.
Taneff said online adoptions make up about 30% of his cases and those numbers are similar across the country.
He said people prefer the method because it’s significantly faster and puts the birth mom and prospective parents in total control.
They can monitor, investigate and follow each other long before deciding to ever meet.
He said it’s also significantly cheaper than going through an agency or overseas.
One couple he recently worked with, Kristen and John Juth, located their baby girl Madison through Facebook.
The Juths recommend people hire a good attorney. They say adoption is an emotional process and you need someone on your side looking out for your best interests. They can handle the medical records and make sure your pediatrician sees the baby before you bring them home.
They can also prevent litigation later by checking on the birth mom’s family situation and birth dad’s intentions, to make sure no one contests the adoption later.
And he said you must have a different attorney than the birth mother.
Taneff said many things can go wrong without “fair and separate” representation, including having the adoption reversed or nullified.
“She can say no one went over her rights and the process; no one terminated her rights properly; no one waited the appropriate time or she had a C-section and she was medicated in a hospital bed, and a social worker said sign these papers and do this adoption,” warned Taneff.
Here are some of his other tips:
Do: Be open and honest; and update frequently
Don’t: Post last names, home and work information, addresses or personal and financial records
Do: Feel free to connect or communicate with possible birth moms
Don’t: Give them money, pay their bills or do anything with them without your attorney’s knowledge
Do: Be kind and always remember and consider the birth mom
Don’t: Cross pre-established boundaries or do anything that makes either party uncomfortable after the adoption is final
Do: Be patient, trust your gut instincts, exercise common sense and ignore dissenters
Don’t: Give up