A cross between Match.com and Facebook, a new social networking site brings together pregnant women and parents looking to adopt, without any of the high costs and middlemen of traditional adoption agencies. DirectAdoptions.com, which launched this summer, had 130,000 hits its first month as birth mothers and adoptive parents started connecting directly with each other-a change from the traditional adoption model in which birth mothers and prospective parents contact an agency that serves as a go-between throughout the process.
“Because of the nature of this industry, most people’s perception of anyone involved in the adoption industry is that they’re doing it for the money,” says Aaron Ghermezian, one of DirectAdoption.com’s founders. “Our approach is somewhat different. … Our goal is to empower the birth mothers so they can communicate with as many parents as they want and select the parents they want. We want to empower adoptive parents to communicate with as many birth mothers as they see, to let them know they exist.”
Birth mothers, who join the site for free, remain anonymous until they choose to reveal who they are to prospective parents. Prospective parents register on the site and provide detailed profiles, including photos and videos the birth moms can view. Prospective parents pay a fee of $295 to join and a monthly fee of $59, which can be cancelled at any time, Ghermezian says.
Once they meet and choose to proceed with the adoption, the adoptive parents are required by law to undergo background checks and home studies done by social services. “All parties must follow applicable state adoption law,” Ghermezian says.