Adoption Photolisting Question and One Answer
A commenter asked Bill, who works as a key player in a state photolisting, to respond to the effectiveness of photolistings.
Here is his response:
Photo listings are the primary method we have to reach potential adoptive families outside our local area. They have been the number one source of families for children placed out-of-state and we often receive numerous inquiries and studies from families within hours of the time a new listing appears.
However, the quality of the photo is the key. Good photos showing happy children attract families to read the descriptive material. A bad photo may cause families to bypass the listing entirely. We've had cases where a child with a poor photo received no response yet when a new quality photo was substituted, inquiries suddenly came in.
But while photos may attract families to read the narrative portion of the photolisting, people still need to read between the lines and ask questions as many of these children have issues that are often not included in the web listings due to confidentiality or personal privacy concerns. Nobody writing listings wants to put any information on line that could embarrass or humiliate a child with his or her peers so emotional and behavioral issues often go unaddressed except in the special needs severity. If a child has severe or moderate issues, families need to learn up front what the reasons for that listing may be. By addressing the issues through e-mail or phone discussion, families and agency workers can decide if the family is a potential match and avoid missing a good possibility because someone is scared away by a term or situation they might misunderstand without discussion. Often, children may carry a diagnosis, but have made great progress in recent months and be ready for adoption by the right parent(s).
As to who is listed, our region lists all children that do not have potential adoptive matches locally, or with families who have already submitted home studies for other youngsters and seem appropriate for new arrivals to the adoptive program. This means the listings will usually be older children, sibling groups and children with medical, emotional or behavioral problems. Most young children have many waiting possibilities locally and usually enter adoption through the foster to adopt route. As to the currency of listings, they vary greatly with some photolistings updating infrequently and others updating daily. Any interested family should start the process by finding out if children of interest are still available. That can usually be done by e-mail to the posting website contact.
The bottom line for our photolistings is that they are very effective. Hundreds of children in loving families today were originally spotted on the Internet.
A question then, for parents and professionals:
Are adoption photolistings effective? How can they be more effective? Do you agree with Bill?