As we saw during the Adoption Portraits series, prospective adoptive parents find it very hard to wait for a match with a birthmother or with a child. I remember when we were trying to adopt, and as the months ticked by, we considered signing on with a second agency to increase our chances of finding a baby sooner.
But the costs of such a strategy were prohibitive, and the idea was a fleeting one. I have learned recently of a technology that adoption agencies can use to increase communication with other agencies and eliminate the need for parents to sign up with multiple agencies.
For those of you trying to do a domestic adoption, check with your adoption agency to see if they have heard of a technology called Parent Match.
Dr. Lori Barer Ingber, an adoptive mom, launched Parent Match after witnessing her sister struggle to find a baby to adopt. Her sister was signed up with an agency in Connecticut as well as one in Florida, hoping that this would increase her chances of finding a baby more quickly. Meanwhile, Lori heard about a baby born in Alabama that was as yet unmatched with adoptive parents. Her sister, who was paying fees to agencies in Connecticut and Florida, ended up adopting the baby through an agency in Alabama.
Thinking about her sister’s experience, Lori decided to create a network for adoption agencies to be able to communicate with one another so that all agencies know about all babies, and babies don’t slip through the cracks.
I spoke with Dr. Ingber to find out more about Parent Match.
Here’s how it works:
Let’s say a new expectant mom joins Agency A to find adoptive parents for her baby. Agency A subscribes to Parent Match, and so they log into their private account and input basic information about the new expectant mom. The type of information that goes into the system includes details such as the expectant mom’s age, race, what requirements she is looking for in an adoptive parent, etc.
When Agency A clicks to add the expectant mom as a client, a list of potential adoptive families comes up who matched her criteria. Here is the great part- the list of families is pulled from every agency that subscribes to Parent Match, not just from Agency A’s pool of waiting families.
As soon as a potential match is made, both agencies get an alert. For privacy reasons, the agencies see ID numbers but not the profiles of clients from other agencies. Then the agency that represents the expectant mom and the agency that represents the waiting adoptive family contact each other to see if they want to proceed with additional information exchange.
I wish this had been around when we were adopting! For those of you currently working to do a domestic agency adoption, ask your agency if they use Parent Match. There are currently 25 agencies on the system, and they report that potential matches are made all the time.
Check the Parent Match website to find a participating agency. You can also find Parent Match on Facebook.
Best of luck to all of you on the adoption journey!