5 Things NOT to do When Forming Adoption Relationships Online

Your quick guide to online etiquette in adoption relationships.

Sarah M. Baker March 12, 2016

Today is a digital age. We have smart phones and more social media accounts than we can keep up with. Nearly everyone has a computer and checks their email, Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram several times a day. Some people make best friends or even meet their significant other online. It’s almost a given that you will form adoption relationships online too. So how does it differ from relationships made the old-fashioned way? What things should you NOT do when forming those adoption relationships online?

Don't Be Overzealous
1. Don't Be Overzealous

It’s exciting to meet people in the same boat as you, but keep in mind that everyone is in his or her own stage of the adoption journey. If you are seeking education, be patient and ask a few questions at a time. Browse the forums for the answers to your questions so you aren’t being overly repetitive. Get to know your crowd to gauge how they will react to your questions. Not all groups are created equal. Some will be inviting and positive and others will be rude and dismissive. Finding the right group of people for you is crucial.

Don't Go In Completely Uneducated
2. Don't Go In Completely Uneducated

In online adoption support groups and forums, adoption language and some knowledge of adoption ethics or laws is really helpful. Of course, you won’t have all the answers---that’s why you are seeking out these people for guidance---but knowing some of the things that ruffle people’s feathers is a great start. People come together in these groups from all walks of life and with many different backgrounds and experiences. Some can be downright nasty when they try to educate people new to adoption. Going in with your blinders open and thick skin on along with having a little education will go a long way to protecting yourself against these vigilantes.

Don't Assume Too Much
3. Don't Assume Too Much

You know the old saying about when you assume something. If you go into a new adoption relationship assuming you have nothing new to learn or stuck in your ways, you are setting yourself up for failure. Adoptive parents and birth parents come together online to form new relationships because they need each other. Assuming you have nothing to gain from them makes it hard to form a friendship. Taking that one step further, never assume that the people you meet always have it as together as they appear to. They, like everyone else, have faced challenges in their adoption journey, and from those challenges you may benefit and connect.

Don't Pretend to Be Someone You're Not
4. Don't Pretend to Be Someone You're Not

Be yourself. Be honest in your journey and don’t hide behind a wall or façade. In order to make real friends and get honest advice, you have to be truthful. If you are really struggling with your adoption journey or relationships in your adoption triad, someone out there can relate and help you work through it. Don’t pretend everything is perfect if it’s not. We all have moments we just can’t process a situation and need our friends to lean on or put our situation in perspective.

Don't Be Closed Off
5. Don't Be Closed Off

Whether it’s to letting people in or gaining new information, don’t close yourself off. The world is a big place with a lot of people in it. The internet has given us a door to meet people we would have never encountered before. Some of them may not be people we want in our lives, but others can be amazing resources and friends. Don’t be afraid to make friends and learn new things.

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Sarah M. Baker

Sarah is a Staff Storyteller for Adoption.com and passionate about teaching others the power of open adoption. She is very active in the adoption community, where she spends a lot of time advocating as the founder of Heart For Open Adoption. She is the mom of two boys in addition to parenting her niece. She is a mother biologically and through domestic infant open adoption. Sarah promotes adoption education and ethical adoptions. She and her husband were featured on Season 2 of Oxygen’s “I’m Having Their Baby,” which tells the story of their first adoption match failing. Sarah hopes to bring her personal experience to you and help anyone who wants more information about adoption to find it with ease. Though it was once a taboo subject, Sarah hopes to make adoption something people are no longer afraid to talk about. You can learn more about Sarah and her family on her blog.


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