If you’re looking for adoptive parents for your baby, there is no shortage of places to find them, including our website. Adoption agencies, attorneys and facilitators  all have long lists of couples and singles who can’t wait to adopt.

But if you want more control over the process, you might want to follow the example of many expectant parents today: Go online and find them yourself. Connecting with hopeful adoptive parents through the Web has plenty of advantages.

But just like any tool, it has its share of risks as well.

The Benefits

Reach. Unlike most agencies and attorneys who work primarily with local hopeful adoptive parents, online you can access profiles of adoptive parents from all across the U.S.. This enlarges your pool of families to choose from and increases your chances of finding the one you’re looking for.

Choice. By and large when you visit an agency, you’ll be presented you with a limited number of families based on the preferences you’ve given them. On the internet, however, you can see as many profiles as you want, when you want, without anyone pre-screening them for you. If the choices on one site aren’t to your liking, you can simply move on to another.

Diversity. Some agencies have a certain philosophy or set of religious beliefs and will only work with clients who share them. Sites like ours don’t have those kinds of restrictions, which allows you to reach out to a wider range of adopting parents.

Accessibility. Offline, if you want to view a parent profile, you have to set up an appointment and meet with a professional face-to-face. By contrast, on the Web you do it any time, instantly and directly, with the click of a mouse.

Convenience. Finding an adoptive family for your baby is a stressful process. Doing it on the Web helps reduce some of the pressure by giving you the tools to conduct your search quickly and anonymously. No one has to know what you’re doing unless you tell them.

The Risks

Acting too quickly. Finding hopeful adoptive parents online is easy — sometimes too easy. Jumping into a situation before you’re ready could not only jeopardize an otherwise perfect match, it could create unnecessary problems for you and the people you contact.

Lack of professional guidance.  As with any life-changing decision, getting balanced, non-biased information about the adoption process is critical. Waiting parents you meet on the Web can’t help you with that. Only an experienced licensed professional can.

Selective number of waiting parents. Some states prohibit waiting parents from posting their profile online. That means that if you live there or are interested in finding parents from there, you have to go beyond the Web.

Limited information. Most online services, including ours, don’t meet with waiting parents. They simply post their profile online and have no information about them apart from what they’ve been given. And given that the profiles are written by the couples themselves, there is no way to vouch for the accuracy of the information.

Pushy parents. Some hopeful adoptive parents you meet online may be difficult to deal with and make unreasonable demands. An adoption professional can protect you from getting involved in an uncomfortable situation and can advocate on your behalf throughout the process.

Searching online can help you find adopting parents easier and faster. However, it could also create challenges for you if you dive into a situation too quickly or lack the necessary professional guidance and support. Working with an agency or an attorney won’t necessarily eliminate your problems, but they can often reduce them.