Thomasville couple turns to Facebook in their quest to adopt
For nearly a decade now, people have been using Facebook to look for long-lost friends, old classmates and even former flames.
Brad and Love Hulin are using Facebook to look for a baby.
The Hulins, who live in Thomasville, are still working through an agency as they seek an open adoption, but they created a Facebook page last month to increase their chances of finding a birth mother.
“You never know when the right person is going to find your information,” Love says, “and by doing the Facebook page, we have broadened our scope of people we can share our information with.”
The couple, who married in 2010, knew before they wed that they wanted to have children, but they also knew Love wouldn’t be able to conceive naturally. After consulting with a fertility specialist, who told them in vitro fertilization gave them only about a 25-percent chance of success, the couple began investigating adoption agencies instead. The application process began in earnest in April 2012, but for nearly a year their page on their adoption agency’s website proved fruitless.
The creation of a Facebook page was a suggestion from the couple’s agency, Independent Adoption Center in Raleigh.
“We get a monthly letter from our counselor, and at the bottom was a list of ways you could network, and a Facebook page was one of those,” Love recalls. “I had actually thought about it before and we decided not to go that route, but this time we decided to give it a try.”
The couple was overwhelmed by the positive reaction to their page.
“At first, I thought we might be lucky to get 200 to 300 likes total, but we had that many in the first hour,” Brad says. “It just kind of blew up from day one. We had 500 likes by midnight, and we had 1,400 likes the next day.”
The page — which can be viewed by searching for “Love & Brad’s Adoption Journey” — now has more than 2,800 likes.
The page includes a brief statement about the couple’s desire to raise and love a child, numerous photos of the couple — many of which show them interacting with children, to illustrate their love for kids — and a link to their website. There’s also a toll-free phone number prospective birth mothers can call that goes directly to Brad’s cell phone.
“We are hoping to grow our family through open adoption,” reads a blurb on the Facebook page. “If you or someone you know is considering adoption, please visit our website listed below to learn more about us!”
The page is not meant to skirt around having to through an adoption agency, Love points out.
“I don’t want people to think that just because we created this Facebook page, we can adopt a child just like that,” she explains. “We’re still affiliated with our agency, and we’ll still have to go through them to work out all the legal issues.”
The use of Facebook by couples looking to adopt is a growing trend, according to Gloria Hochman, director of communications for the National Adoption Center, an adoption advocacy organization.
“People who want to adopt will try many things to attract attention to their cause,” Hochman says. “They’ll hand out business cards as a way of networking, they’ll advertise in newspapers saying ‘We’re a terrific couple and we’d like to adopt a child,’ and Facebook is just another extension of that.”
Creating a Facebook page is a great way for couples to increase their chances of finding a prospective birth mother seeking an adoptive family for her child, Hochman adds.
“People that want to adopt a baby, in particular, are almost desperate, because there are fewer babies available for adoption than there are people who want to adopt them,” she says. “There’s a waiting line for babies, so any way you can spread the word — Facebook, Twitter, any kind of social media — gets your name out there and gives you a better chance.”
According to the Hulins, the Facebook page has generated a lot of comments and positive feedback from family, friends and even strangers, but thus far it hasn’t resulted in any direct leads to a prospective birth mother.
“We have had somebody contact us that had spoken with someone thinking about making an adoption plan, but we have not spoken with any birth mothers or anything like that,” Love says. “We’ve had a lot of people share our information.”
The couple has also heard from a few birth mothers who had already placed a child for adoption.
“One lady contacted us who had placed a child for adoption three years ago, and she told us what a wonderful experience she had,” Love recalls. “That was a real boost for us.”
“It’s definitely been a morale-booster, because it gets people talking,” he says. “We had nothing for a year, and now all of a sudden we’re re-energized. It gives us hope.”
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