Entrepreneurs in the greatest sense. This couple is using the Internet to expand their family through open adoption.

Ross and J. are using the Internet to pursue open adoption. They’re already busy with Connor, their little boy – born in 2005 – and the dads think he’ll be a “great big brother”.

The couple believes strongly in open adoptions. Each open adoption is different – and based on the type of relationship that the birth parents and the adoptive parents have agreed to.

We interviewed Ross and J. to learn about their experience with this type of adoption – and gained insight into their pioneering method of finding open adoption online.

Did you pursue alternatives to open adoption?

Once we knew we were ready to start a family, we took a “Maybe Baby” class
with other gay couples and singles who wanted to be parents. In this class
we learned about co-parenting, surrogacy, adoption, etc. and confirmed our
initial thought that adoption was right for us. We started looking into
international adoption and decided it didn’t feel right for us, and then we
discovered open adoption. It is really important for us to provide answers
to our children about their background, their adoption stories, and to have
contact with their birth parents.

Has an open relationship developed with Connor’s biological parent(s)?

We have a very open relationship with Connor’s birthparents. They visit us
or we visit them at least twice a year, including for Connor’s birthday. We
also email and send pictures more frequently. We also understand that we
may not be able to have such openness with the birth parents of our future
children.

What types of activities do you enjoy together?

When we visit with Connor’s birth parents we usually do kid-friendly
activities like going to the Children’s Museum, swimming at our community
pool, and going to the zoo.

Depending on the level of closeness you may have with Connor’s
biological parent(s) – the logistics could get challenging. Have you
agreed upon certain boundaries? Or do you create the rules as you go?

At the beginning, we agreed on a minimum level of contact, but it has
evolved to be more frequent than what we originally agreed.

How did you find Connor’s biological mother?

Connor’s birth parents found us through our adoption agency, Friends in
Adoption, after doing an Internet search for adoption agencies.

Did you pursue alternatives to seeking a biological parent via the
internet?

Using the Internet to connect with birth parents is only one of our
approaches. Our agency does a lot of networking for their prospective
adoptive parents, we have advertised in newspapers and on adoption profile
sites, we pass out adoption cards with our contact information wherever we
go, and we tell everyone we know that we are looking to adopt.

I’m sure the feedback to rossandj.com is overwhelming. How much
email do you receive each month?

Recently we have been receiving over 1,000 visitors per week to our site.
We have received up to 10 emails a week at the peak; with most of them being
people wishing us well on our adoption journey and a couple to several per
month from expectant mothers wanting more information.

I don’t notice many other prospective adoptive parents running ads
online. Am I correct that the number is low? Why do you think that is?

Advertising on the Internet can expose prospective adoptive families to a
lot of potential scams and occasionally, especially same-sex couples, can
receive email from hateful people. We imagine that a lot of people are not
up for receiving this type of email (we just ignore the negative) and we
have an excellent adoption agency to help us through questionable situations
that come about.

What’s your budget for online advertising – on average?

We don’t have a specified budget, but generally we are spending less during
this adoption journey than our first.

How many children do you want?

We’ve always talked about having two children, but you never know! We think
adopting twins would be great, which would make us a family of three
children total!

It seems like you guys are very open in the community about your
family – and you’re website has probably been viewed by everyone in
your immediate vicinity. Have you encountered any homophobia from
community members?

As mentioned above, we do get an occasional hateful email which we ignore,
but in our immediate community we haven’t encountered any – including at
Connor’s day care and at our place of employment.

On a much more positive note, have you received any encouragement
from community members?

We have always received positive feedback from those in our local community
who know that we have adopted and want to do so again.

What have I left out? Is there anything you’d like to add?

We would like to add this: The Internet is just one way that prospective
adoptive parents can seek out birthparents – and it is not for everyone. No
one way is right for everyone and nothing can, in our opinion, replace a
reputable and experienced adoption agency and attorney.

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