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Internet playing larger role in Maryland adoptions

When a Maryland couple who turned to a nearby adoption agency for help found out that they may have to wait for up to three years for a child are now considering whether they should turn to the internet to help find a suitable birth mother from whom to adopt.

The internet is playing a growing role in child adoption proceedings both in Maryland and elsewhere. Birth mothers seem to find the online process more convenient and faster, as do some adoptive parents. However, the practice raises some important considerations:

Traditional adoption agencies must have a license, but on the internet, just about any entrepreneur could hold itself out as an adoption agency and offer to help facilitate and adoption. While such online organizations may have high visibility due to the a large advertising budget, they may lack the necessary credentials and know-how that would ensure that an adoption gets finalized without a hitch.

Moreover, some of these online services can offer birth mothers monetary and other incentives in exchange for placing their children for adoption. In Maryland, this practice is illegal. Moreover, the use of incentives to get a mother to agree to an adoption raises moral and ethical issues. Some might view it as a form of "child selling."

While not discounting online adoptions altogether, Maryland adoption experts recommend using only licensed agencies, whether or not they have an online presence. An experienced Maryland adoption lawyer is another viable option for people who wish to adopt a child.

Source: NPR, "Finding a child online: how the web is transforming adoption," Jennifer Ludden, Dec. 13, 2012.

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