ST. LOUIS — Allison, Kenneth, and their dog Cubbie are a sweet family of three with room on the couch for a fourth.
“I think God has a plan for us to add a child through adoption,” said Allison.
But they quickly learned: when it comes to adopting, it takes a village to get a child.
“Just going thru an agency, there’s no guarantee that you know an adoptive mother would choose your family,” explained Kenneth. “So they suggest that you network yourself so that you get exposure.”
Just like most networking these days, that happens online.
“You can reach more people that way definitely by people liking and sharing your page.”
“The world has changed, and birth parents are finding adoptive parents through the internet,” said Melyssa Frederick of Lutheran Family and Children’s Services.
She says people faced with unplanned pregnancies turn to the internet for help figuring out their options—so adoption hopefuls should be there, too.
“Sometimes it might be Google searches, it might be Facebook, somebody might have networked with someone else, so we are preparing families for that kind of world.”
But Allison wasn’t prepared for some of the comments she got on her Facebook page.
“Like I’m trying to troll the internet for a baby or just negative stuff like that, this isn’t a place for infertile couples, and it brought tears to my eyes,” she said.
“You have to stay positive,” said Kenneth.
Frederick says: stay smart, too. Prospective parents might be putting themselves out there….and scammers are ready to come take it.
“Start off with a little bit of information and just like any relationship, you develop more openness about what you’re willing to share.”
Kenneth and Allison got the same advice.
“I don’t share like the city we live in or address or anything like that, and the number that’s on our Facebook page, the social worker suggested that we get like a disposable cell phone to use that number for people to contact us,” said Allison.
Sometimes though, it’s the people you know best who can make things harder.
“There’s a lot of times a lot of concern about openness from relatives and friends; ‘are you really going to meet the birth parents,’ ‘are you really going to establish these relationships,’ and what we see here at our agency is that these relationships are beautiful,” said Frederick.
Allison and Kenneth are still looking for their new addition, with faith that their future birth mom is just a prayer—and a click—away.
“We understand that it’s a hard decision, you can’t just come up with something like that immediately. Our hope is that they think about it,” said Kenneth. “We are very prepared to offer love.”