A family that was using a fairly new agency to Addis Ababa was recently not permitted to adopt the child they had been referred because the parent posted a photo of the child on their blog. Our agency, Wide Horizons, has always made this absolutely clear that you can not post photos of your child until they are legally deemed "yours". Unfortunately it is said that a vindictive person leaked the information to the Embassy. Sounds like a mess, I know. The part of this conversation that is concerning me though, is that the Embassy made it very clear they were not only upset about the posting of the photo, but that the family had been fund raising towards their adoption on the website. The old, "you shouldn't be adopting if you can not afford it" phrase. Our agency has said that although they absolutely understand why people choose to fund raise, and they are not saying that you cant- with the cultural difference in Ethiopia, they may not understand or look kindly on parents fund raising to come up with the money to adopt. Legally in the US you can not be licensed as an adoptive family (internationally) if your income falls below $30,000.00. How ever, right now the adoption situation in Ethiopia is getting more and more prickly. Many new agencies have moved in, and many more children are leaving Ethiopia. People are very scared. Scared that Ethiopia may end up like Russia, China or Guatemala. Many adoptive parents have chosen to stop blogging (I frequently have to go through my links and get rid of ones people have stopped contributing to- like what happened to swerl?), make their blogs password protected (private) or just not discuss anything that could be interpreted as offensive.
I myself am not sure what to do. I have taken down my direct paypal link but I am hesitant to do more. Is someone really trolling the hundreds of adoption blogs looking for offensive material? Perhaps. If fund raising is offensive, what about soliciting money from a church or applying for grant or loan? What about people that get a second loan on their house? Is that frowned upon? I know our agency said not to include any photos of animals in our home study packet because Ethiopians did not understand our indulgence of pets in this country. So will it be held against me that I have photos of my dogs and cats all over my blog? Should I hide the fact that our pit bull Harley is the best napping companion a kid could ask for? Should I abandon any topics that may be controversial or opinionated?
So if you are a teacher, parent, prospective parent, or just want to be hip to whats really going on with children online right now, go watch this series. I am pretty restrictive about what Kiana is allowed to do online and we really limit the time frames. But I can do so much better ( I say after being online for 2 hours) and learn more tools to deal with the over connectedness our children have with media.