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/ Shutterstock.com)