The Internet is an amazing tool for finding information on adoption with a search term or two, and the click of the mouse. The next thing you know, you have hundreds of adoption websites available to view.
Adoption websites often consist of message boards, informative articles, and sometimes chats. They provide useful information to visitors, and the visitors often turn the message boards into a successful means of communication among the adoption community. These message boards can be a great form of support, as you often will be talking with other people who understand exactly what you are going through.
Along with the supportive nature on adoption message boards, some people can have very firm opinions when it comes to adoption. For example, you will find advocates of domestic adoption, international adoption, and adopting from foster care on adoption websites. Just because they are advocating for one type of adoption, doesnít mean you canít learn from them, even if you will be pursing another type of adoption. Assuming they arenít posting rude or degrading comments, you can often find common ground based on your adoption experiences. And, you never know what you might learn (and what they might learn from you) as you become familiar with each otherís adoption journeys.
The down side of these wonderful adoption websites is that you still have no idea who is on the other end of the computer screen. Hopefully, itís a person interested in sharing information, and stories of his or her adoption journey. However, sometimes it might be someone who is involved in an adoption scam. No matter how many friendly messages someone posts, you simply donít have the ability to know the personís true identity and motive. While the Internet is a great tool for research, use it for just thatóresearch. Use your adoption agencies, social workers, and adoption attorneys for your specific adoption needs, not a message board.
Sadly, there are also people who are interested in posting messages simply to get a response out of people. They are often referred to as trolls. While itís easy to get caught up in some of the outrageous statements made by such people, itís best to let the forum moderator know of any inappropriate comments.
The Internet has both advantages and disadvantages for research. Knowing the benefits and limitations is the key to getting the most out of your time spent on adoption message boards.