Adopting A Baby Off Of Craigslist Sort Of Makes Sense

Remember the movie Juno? Jennifer Garner’s character places an ad in the Pennysaver looking for a child to adopt? I always thought that was some made-up Hollywood plot line. I guess I was wrong. People are actually placing ads on Craigslist, looking to adopt children. In real life. From ABC News:

After years of taking fertility medication to try to have a baby, Tracey and Dan Citron of Minnesota decided to post an ad on Craigslist, saying they were interested in adopting a child. Tammy Nelson, a mother-to-be, responded to their ad, and now they have a healthy little boy named Ben.

My first reaction to reading this was, “No way. That can’t be right.” How can you look for used furniture, random sexual hook-ups and a baby in the same place? But then I found out that a lot of hopeful parents are taking to the Internet for adoption solutions. It kind of makes sense. We do everything else online, right?

The process is way more involved than it sounds. It’s not like you just go online, place an ad for a baby, find one, and take it home. Craigslist and other sites serve as facilitators to find interested parties. Parent can advertise directly to birth mothers, but once they connect they legally still need support from an adoption agency or lawyer.

There are obvious risks to cutting out the middle man. Without the screening that adoption agencies perform, parents are more vulnerable and more likely to be taken advantage of by scam artists. A couple in Buffalo New York learned this the hard way. They were scammed by a prospective birth mother, who was daily demanding cash for trips to the doctor. Barbar Sternberg, their adoption coordinator, told ABC News, ”When somebody is pushing money, money, money, I needed it yesterday, it’s instantly a concern. I always tell my clients the second someone starts asking for money in the first conversation, that’s a big red flag.”

I’m not even sure if I’m savvy enough to buy a used camera off of Craigslist, let alone try to adopt a baby.  But I’m trying to have an open mind about these options. Prospective parents have enough hurdles in their way when they are dealing with adoption agencies. If taking to the Internet makes it easier for them, who am I to judge? Denise Bierly, President of the American Academy of Adoption Attorneys, told Yahoo Shine, ”The Internet has changed everything about adoption. We will never go back to what it used to be.”

The Internet has made so many other facets of life easier and more accessible. If done with the proper legalities and facilitators, why shouldn’t adoption be one of them?

(photo: YanLev/



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  • Andrea

    While I can see the potential for being ripped off, I am kinda glad that this is a thing now. I have always thought that the adoption process was just too grueling, too heartbreaking, and way WAY WAY! too expensive. Considering how many children are dying to be adopted and how many parents are dying to adopt, it seems wrong that the process is so difficult.

    I hope this keeps evolving and becomes the norm. I also hope that it stays safe (as much as it can) and that it enables many many many happy (and affordable!) adoptions.

  • ZannaDenver

    As an adoptive mom I can see the pros and cons of this. Because adoption is so emotionally taxing, I would consider doing it this way- as long as I had a great lawyer to write the contracts. Sounds like a business exchange; that is how adoption works. It is worth all the pain too!

  • Angela

    A gay couple I know did this because they live in an extremely conservative area and having a hard time finding a baby. Most of the adoption agencies around them are religiously run and only accept married, heterosexual applications and the few that did allow them to apply warned that most birth mothers would be looking for “traditional” families. Other options such as surrogacy or international adoption were simply too expensive so they placed an ad on craigslist and had a brother who’s an attorney help them with a private adoption. It was all above board and legal.

  • bumbler

    this is a good way to get money makers out of adoptions. People get rich off adoption facilitation and that really irks me. There’s no wrong way to make a family (relatively speaking). I think unconventional adoptions are awesome.

  • Flora

    There are several gay couples in my neighborhood who have started websites about themselves and their families looking to adopt; part of that is going on Craigslist. They’ve had really great luck with it, and have found a wonderfully non-judgemental route to adopt several children! (including special needs children, who have a much harder time getting adopted out of agencies, etc.)

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