Top 3 ways COVID-19 will change adoption
I’ve been asked recently if COVID-19 is affecting the world of adoption, to which my answer is a resounding yes — like seemingly every other industry.
I read a news story today about a woman that will be traveling by plane next week – despite the warnings to “shelter in place” – to be at the hospital when her birth mom delivers the baby she’s hoping to adopt. While I don’t condone it, as an adoptive mom, I can absolutely empathize with the all-consuming excitement and fear that precedes the birth fueling the willingness to disregard the health warnings to be at the hospital.
Thinking through the chain-reaction COVID-19 has set in motion, below are the other major adoption-related ramifications I predict:
Prediction 1: There will be fewer adoptions via adoption agencies. Families are being financially devastated by the Coronavirus pandemic. Prior to the pandemic, paying $40K-$60K to an adoption agency was a significant stretch for many families which is now completely out of reach and will be for the foreseeable future. Hopeful adoptive families are already seeking new and more cost-effective ways to adopt.
Prediction 2: There will be an uptick in adoptions in 2021 and 2022. Following the Great Depression, the US experienced a greatly elevated birth rate, a fertility rate that continued for 18 years – which accounts for 40% of the current US population. I predict the same will happen when the World is given the green light to get “close” again. So while the COVID-19 virus may be limiting adoption options in the short-term, the next few years will see an abundance of opportunity.
Additionally, with all elective surgeries/procedures cancelled – which includes IVF, we predict a number of families will be turning toward adoption.
Prediction 3: There will be a rise of online tools to facilitate adoptions. In this new era of social distancing, the ability to meet with a social worker to conduct a home study has all but ground to a halt. As has the ability to meet – in-person – with adoption service professionals (agencies and attorneys), as well as for birth moms and hopeful adoptive parents.
While a newer concept to the adoption world, technology will be the path forward. I spoke with a social worker yesterday who just completed her first post placement report for an agency in Florida – via FaceTime. She was hesitant to say she would conduct a regular home study in the same manner, but admitted that if our “shelter-in-place” restrictions continue, she would revise her opinion. She assumed the Courts would also need to adapt.
Additionally, there is additional need for online tools that enable hopeful parent(s) and birth moms to connect with one another, and begin to build a relationship.
Enter PairTree – the connection platform that connects adoptive parent(s) with birth moms, and provides a community of support on the journey.
Now — if we could only conduct the legal work online… !